From the beginning of the Church there has been a need for not only priests, but for men whose primary purpose is to glorify God through service to others. The Apostles recognized the need and called seven men into this ministry by the laying on of hands. These men are called deacons, a name derived from the Greek word diakonos that means servant.
As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the Apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
While some men are given the vocation of the diaconate, all of us are called to be servants to one another. Jesus came into the world to serve, not to be served. We must imitate him.
There is so much work of mercy that needs to be done. It is not only the work of priests and deacons, it is the responsibility of every follower of Jesus Christ.
Be the servant of one another.