This timely book provides the general reader with a clear, succinct introduction to the diaconate and addresses the perplexing and commonly-asked questions and myths that have been raised about deacons, their sacramental identity, their functions, and their relationships. Although the position of deacon was commonplace in the early church, the order became a transitional one from the 6th century until Vatican II reinstated the post of "permanent" deacon in the late 1960s. Since then, the diaconate rapidly became the fastest growing of all church vocations. While many Catholics are aware of deacons, most have very little idea why the diaconate was renewed as a permanent order of ordained ministry or even why deacons exist In addition, more than 90% of deacons are married, which adds to the confusion of Catholics who have only experienced a celibate clergy. Now they are presented with a predominantly married clergy involved in the leadership and service of the Church. This book answers such commonly asked questions as: -Just who and what is a deacon? -After all these centuries, what led the Council to restore the diaconate as a permanent order of ministry? -What sort of training and formation do deacons receive? -How does a deacon balance family, job, and ordained ministry? -Can a deacon be pastor of a parish? Taken together, these questions explore the role of deacons in the contemporary church, the formation of deacons, what it is like to live as a deacon, and the role of deacons as ministers of the word, the liturgy, and as apostolic leaders in service.