By Rosa Maria Mancilla
In the Acts of Apostles, a deacon’s ministry was introduced to us as a community leader spreading the Gospel. Although the deacon role was described to us many years ago in the Scriptures, it is still not widely known throughout the community and is on the brink of being forgotten.
Having a deacon in our family has brought many blessings, as well as many challenges. Our family has learned to accommodate his diaconate life by being flexible and patient, while maintaining the willingness to share our time with him.
Since the beginning of our marriage, my husband had expressed to me his dream to become a deacon. I always knew he had the calling to serve, and I happily walked alongside him during his journey towards becoming a deacon. After celebrating our eighteenth anniversary, his dream finally came true. As a family, we supported him every step of the way.
In our Diocese, not many communities have had the opportunity to understand the role of a deacon. Therefore, in the Hispanic community, we find that there is a constant miscommunication, especially for those who do not come to Mass regularly.
Let me share with you an example of a misunderstanding.
After a Baptism that my husband Deacon Leonel celebrated, we were invited to one of the baptismal parties. As we walked into the restaurant, we were holding hands, which is a normal behavior for us. We were invited to sit at one of the main tables and soon after, another couple sat down with us. During our conversation, I noticed the couple staring at us in an unusual manner. At one point, my husband made us laugh and I naturally placed my head on his shoulder. The man sitting with us looked away, while giving me a skeptical look.
He then asked my husband, “are you the one who celebrated the Baptism?” He answered “yes,” but we didn’t think too much of the question.
As the conversation continued, I could tell that there was something bothering him. The man then asked, “Are you two a couple?” My husband then explained we were married. The man then asked, “Oh, so a priest can get married now?”
And it all came together, the role of a deacon was not clear. Having to explain what a deacon’s role is only shows how unknown a deacon’s place in the church is.
As a deacon’s wife, you are exposed to many unique experiences. One may be cleaning his albs from all the lipstick stains of the many women kissing him after ministries, but at the end of the day, we as a family, are rewarded with blessings and the joy of having a deacon as a part of our family.
Editor’s Note: Rosa’s husband, Deacon Leonel Mancilla is assigned to Saint Athanasius Parish.