Very Rev. Anthony McLaughlin, JCD, VG, has been appointed to serve as Director of Diaconate Formation for the Diocese of Tyler, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland has announced.
In this role, Father McLaughlin will coordinate both the formation process for candidates for the permanent diaconate, as well as ongoing formation for those already ordained deacons in the diocese.
“The initial and ongoing formation of our deacons is a high priority for me as Bishop. Because of his singular academic work on the subject of the permanent diaconate as well as his extraordinary abilities as a teacher of the Faith, I have appointed Father McLaughlin to oversee this area,” Bishop Strickland said.
Father McLaughlin, who serves as Vicar General of the Diocese of Tyler and pastor of Mary, Queen of Heaven Parish in Malakoff, was ordained to the priesthood in 1997. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America where his doctoral dissertation was on the subject of the canonical obligation to continence for married deacons.
“Our permanent deacons play a significant role in the life of the Church in the Diocese of Tyler – in virtue of their sacramental ordination and through their various ministries, they are to be servants in a servant-Church,” said Bishop Strickland. “Their formation as ordained clergy is essential because deacons help the Church link the two greatest commandments of Christ: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
In the Catholic Church, the diaconate is the first of three ranks in ordained ministry. Deacons preparing for the priesthood are transitional deacons. Those not planning to be ordained priests are called permanent deacons. Married men may be ordained permanent deacons, and single men may be ordained with a commitment to celibacy. There are approximately 15,000 permanent deacons in active ministry in the United States, including 87 in the Diocese of Tyler.
“Since the restoration and renewal of the permanent diaconate by the Second Vatican Council, we have come to understand that deacons are a unique expression of ordained ministry called to ‘pour out their own lives in service to others,’” Father McLaughlin said. “Bishop Strickland has great pastoral solicitude for our permanent deacons and is strongly committed to providing them with the support and formation they need to continue to effectively serve the people of the diocese.”
Deacons are called to functions of Word, Sacrament, and Charity: as ministers of Word, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach, and teach in the name of the Church; as ministers of Sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services; and as ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then marshaling the Church’s resources to meet those needs.
Deacon Fred Arrambidez will continue to serve as Director of Permanent Deacons in the diocese.
“On behalf of the permanent deacons of the diocese, I look forward to working with Father McLaughlin in his new role,” Deacon Arrambidez said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the ministry of our dedicated body of deacons in the Diocese of Tyler and his academic background will certainly provide guidance for the formation process of candidates to the diaconate in the future.”