How then did Jack become Deacon Jack Mc Shane? Before we answer that, we need a little lesson in Church History. Deacons have been part of the Church since the time of the Apostles. Chapter 6 of the Acts of the Apostles tells of the beginnings of the Diaconate. At the time it was said that the care of the widows was being ignored. Therefore, the Twelve Apostles called together the disciples to address this problem. It was decided that they should select "seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom" who could be put in charge of the care of the widows. The seven were chosen and presented to the Apostles who prayed and laid hands upon them. The role of the deacon continued until the time of the Council of Nicaea. Since the diaconate was by then a step in the process to the priesthood, there was no need for a Permanent Diaconate. During the Second Vatican Council, however, it was decided that the role of the Deacon should be reintroduced. Initially the American Bishops opposed the idea but one year later, with the decline in the number of priests in this country, they petitioned to establish the diaconate. There are now (March 1997) 92 active deacons in the Metuchen Diocese alone.
Naturally I asked Jack how he decided to become a deacon. It was as simple as Monsignor Kelly suggesting it. Initially he was reluctant. However, Monsignor asked again and Jack decided to give it a try. It is not as simple as it sounds though. There is a screening process and psychological tests and interviews. After he had been selected he had to take a four year course of study. This course of study is given under the direction of the College of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station. Fortunately he was able to take classes locally with other men who were studying, because the teachers came to them. Once a month he had to go to the College. After all the tests and papers and studying, he received a Certificate of Ministry; and he was finally ordained a Deacon by Bishop Hughes at St. Francis Cathedral. As a deacon, he is allowed to preach the Word and preside at Baptisms and Marriages. In addition he is the Minister of the Cup and the Tabernacle. Not one to sit still, Jack is on the Diocesan Diaconate Board. He puts together a yearly retreat and keeps up communication among all the deacons is the diocese. He is on the Parish Council and is the Pastoral Associate for Buildings and Grounds. And as if all these jobs don't keep him busy enough, he is also a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and is a Eucharistic Minister at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Jack has seen many changes in our Parish over the years, and I'm sure he'll continue to be an active member of this Parish for years to come.
Back to Pastoral Staff Directory