Papeete (Agenzia Fides) - The school for the deacons of the Archdiocese of Papeete (Tahiti), founded in 1976, concluded the academic year with just over thirty students, therefore the school is doing well and is "a sign that the permanent diaconate raises interest among the faithful", says Archbishop, His Exc. Mgr. Jean-Pierre Cottanceau, in the news magazine "Le Semeur tahitien", sent to Agenzia Fides.
"The diaconate manifests the essence of all ecclesiastical ministries, whether ordained or not: community service - the Archbishop explains - is not about achieving a title that will lead to social recognition. The deacon is no longer to be considered only as a priest's auxiliary, who can somehow fill his absence. In our diocese the diaconate has developed, especially in the service of the Word, of the liturgy, and of the preparation for the sacraments".
"But the deacon's mission - continues Mgr. Cottanceau - also includes service to the poor and the excluded. From this point of view, the deacon is less a man of altar, but rather a man at the front door of the church: he welcomes all the faithful, he notices the poorest, he looks at those who have no courage to take the path of the church, then he interpels the community and encourages the spirit of charity and evangelization".
The archdiocese of Papeete, in French Polynesia, has 276,944 inhabitants, of whom 105,780 Catholics, 57 parishes, 17 diocesan priests and 10 religious priests, 46 permanent deacons, 36 religious men and 35 religious women. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 21/07/2017)