THE MINISTRY AND LIFE OF DEACONS
process is, all deacons need to appreciate the impact celibacy can have on their lives and ministry.
The Widowed Deacon
79. The death of a married deacon’s wife is a “particular moment in life which calls for faith and Christian hope.” 74 The death of the wife of a married deacon introduces a new reality into the daily routine of his family and ministry. Charity should be extended to the widowed dea con as he assesses and accepts his new personal circumstances, so he will not neglect his primary duty as father to his children or any new needs his family might have. 75 As required, a widowed deacon should be helped to seek professional counsel, and he is always encouraged to address the challenges he faces during the bereavement process with his spiritual director. Further, the fraternal closeness of his dioc esan bishop, the priests with whom he ministers, and the diaconal community should offer comfort and reassurance in this difficult moment in his life. 76 “In particular, the widowed deacon should be supported in living perfect and perpetual continence. He should be helped to understand the profound ecclesial reasons which preclude his remarriage (1 Tm 3:12), in accordance with the constant dis cipline of the Church in the East and West. This can be achieved through an intensification of one’s dedication to others for the love of God in the ministry. In such cases the fraternal assistance of other ministers, of the faithful and of the bishop can be most comforting to widowed deacons.” 77 80. In exceptional cases, the Holy See, having heard the opinion of the deacon’s diocesan bishop, may grant a dispensation for a new mar riage 78 or for a release from the obligations of the clerical state. How ever, to ensure a mature decision in discerning God’s will, effective pastoral care should be provided to maintain that a proper and suffi cient period of time has elapsed before either of these dispensations is sought. If a dispensation for a new marriage is petitioned and granted,
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