The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

St. Francis of Assisi, deacon: “We ought to be servants”

“St. Francis of Assisi at Prayer”
by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1645.

Many people mistakenly think that St. Francis of Assisi must have been a priest.


He was a deacon.

On this, his feast, we are reminded of his spirit of diakonia in these beautiful words, from one of his letters:

We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather, we must be simple, humble, pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.


You can read much more about this “model deacon” over at Deacon Scott Dodge’s blog, where he notes:

“”Of all the saints,” writes Bp. Mark Santer, formerly Anglican bishop of Birmingham, England, “the one whom most people find most Christlike is St. Francis.” His Grace continues that he thinks it significant that Francis “was never ordained a priest.” Instead, Francis “was an ordained deacon, a servant, to the end of his life.”

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posted October 5, 2008 at 6:25 pm

THIS deacon just got home from the “Blessing of the Animals” in honor of St. Francis. What an experience, and what a turnout from the greater community…in addition to the parish. It truly was an evangelical opportunity that I had never considered. No mishaps, unless you count almost having a pinkie removed by a startled chihuahua!

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm

LOL! We had ours yesterday, and quite a turnout, too: 30-40 people with lots of dogs and cats. No snakes or rabbits. It’s a wonderful little tradition, isn’t it?Dcn. G.

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posted October 6, 2008 at 10:38 am

Our church (Charismatic Episcopal) didn’t have a blessing, so we brought our cat to the local Catholic church. It was really fun – many different kinds of animals, from toads to a humongous mastiff. I think Dn. Francis was smiling :)

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