The Toledo diocese began ordaining permanent deacons in 1973, with ordained deacons serving three roles: love and justice, or responding to the community’s needs; preaching the Word; and the sacraments.
Deacons can preside at weddings, baptisms and wake services, but cannot celebrate Mass or the Eucharist. They also cannot perform the sacraments of penance or the anointing of the sick.
A man must be 35 years or older to be considered for the diaconate, an age requirement set by the Vatican. The formation process typically takes four years before a candidate is qualified for ordination.
While deacons can be married at ordination, if their spouses die they are pledged to celibacy. Single men can be ordained permanent deacons with a commitment to celibacy.
Men who are studying for the priesthood are ordained as transient deacons, which differs from a permanent deacon because it is a step toward ordination as a priest.
The new deacons will join 189 men already ordained as deacons in the diocese, which has 317,625 Catholics in 126 parishes in 19 northwest Ohio counties.
Here are photos of the 17 permanent deacons and where they have been assigned by Bishop Blair:
In addition, Bishop Blair announced new assignments for two permanent deacons:
Deacon Thomas Sheehan to Corpus Christi University Parish, Toledo.
Deacon Russel Shoemaker, to St. Joan of Arc Parish, Toledo.