A number of years ago I came across a picture of St. Francis of Assisi wearing a deacon’s stole. The caption explained that St. Francis was not a priest (which I knew) but was actually a deacon. I thought that was really cool! So I mentioned that to a Franciscan Friar and he told me, “No, he wasn’t.”
Since then I’ve asked people who have an expertise in St. Francis what they think about it, and I get varying opinions from a hard “yes,” to a maybe “yes,” to a probably “no.” Most seem to be in the “maybe yes” category, though. So I was excited to hear what Dr. Alan Schreck, who has his doctorate in Church history and has studied a lot about St. Francis had to say about that in this podcast.
Even if St. Francis of Assisi was a deacon, the diaconate in his time was very different than the diaconate we have now (for example, they didn’t even have seminaries in his time—that would be established a few hundred years later at the Council of Trent). However, there are still many “diaconal” aspects of St. Francis’s ministry that are very applicable to us today.
I’m grateful for Alan taking the time to share some of those things with us. I had Alan as a professor in the nineties when studying for my master’s degree, and I’ve always looked up to him. He’s written some incredible books, my favorite being Catholic and Christian. One of his more recent books is St. Francis and Pope Francis: Prayer, Poverty, and Joy in Jesus. Click on either link to purchase at Amazon. I’d recommend anything Alan has written!
I hope you enjoy this podcast. It was recorded under less than ideal circumstances. If you listen to my other podcast, They That Hope, you know that three of my family members have COVID and the other four of us have been living in quarantine. So I was stuck in my 8 year old’s bedroom. (Lucky kid, he got the basement. BTW, everyone is feeling better so no serious complications.) Because we couldn’t meet in person, Alan tried to use his computer at work and, well, the audio and video quality isn’t what I hoped it would be.
However, the content was everything I hoped for and more. Gave me a lot to think about, especially as my own ordination date draws ever closer. I hope you enjoy it. St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Also, this weekend I got my official letter from the Bishop of Steubenville inviting me to be ordained as a permanent deacon at Franciscan University on November 20th, 2021. Praise God! Just 61 days away!