Permanent Catholic Deacons: Balancing Work, Family Life, and Ministry

  • William L Smith Georgia Southern University
Keywords: Permanent Catholic Deacons, Married Clergy, Role Balance

Abstract

Permanent Catholic deacons and their wives from a southern mission diocese
participated in personal semi-structured interviews regarding balance in their lives. Role
imbalance has been a problem for some of these deacons. Sixty percent of the deacons
indicated they were successful in putting their marriages, family responsibilities, and work lives
ahead of their ministry, while forty percent were not successful. Fifty-five percent of the
deacons’ wives said their husbands were successful at putting their marriages, family
responsibilities, and work lives ahead of their ministry, while forty-five percent said their
husbands were not successful. Ninety percent of the deacons were satisfied with their
marriages, family responsibilities, work lives, and ministry. Ten percent were not satisfied. All of
the wives were satisfied with being a deacon’s wife and with the impact the diaconate has had
on their marriages and families. The adult children of the deacons were surveyed online and
eighty-three percent of them indicated their fathers were successful in balancing the various
roles and obligations related to their marriages, family responsibilities, work lives, and ministry.
The deacons and their wives noted that their experience with the permanent diaconate has
strengthened their marriages and spirituality.

Published
2019-04-29