Collared in Wilmington

Some deacons are getting collared in the Wilmington Diocese.

Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly (former auxiliary bishop of Baltimore) has given the greenlight for permanent deacons of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore to wear Roman collars in certain situations.

Gary Morton has the scoop in the Jan. 13 issue of The Dialog. The story points out that that Canon Law neither requires nor bars deacons from wearing Roman collars, leaving the decision to the local diocese:

Deacon Hal Jopp models the gray clerical shirt and Roman collar that deacons will wear for certain ministries. (The Dialog/Don Blake)

Permanent deacons in the diocese will wear Roman collars and other clerical attire when ministering in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and other limited situations under a new policy established last week by Bishop Malooly.

The policy, the bishop said, will help deacons gain access to such facilities, give a “clear public sign” that the deacon is  an ordained Catholic minister, “serve as a witness” that may prompt other men to ask about the diaconate or priesthood, and remind the deacon of his “Christ-centered life in service of the Gospel.”

In addition to correctional facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes, deacons will wear clerical attire when visiting
the homebound, presiding at or attending wake and graveside services (where an alb or stole may be worn), or when
giving an invocation or addressing a secular group as a representative of his parish or the diocese. The policy
limits the wearing of clerical attire by deacons to those ministries.

The attire will consist of a gray clerical shirt and white clerical collar, black dress pants, black dress suitcoat when appropriate, and black dress shoes. The gray shirt will differentiate the deacon from a priest, who normally wears a black clerical shirt.

Deacons will continue to wear liturgical vestments as they preach, proclaim the Gospel, baptize, witness marriages and perform other duties in church.


About George P. Matysek Jr.

George P. Matysek Jr. is the assistant managing editor of The Catholic Review in Baltimore. View all posts by George P. Matysek Jr.

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