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As the Wife Supports the Deacon, the Committee Supports the Wife

Establishment of the Deacons' Wives & Families

In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, we have the blessing of 235 ordained deacons. There is no single model for the deacon's wife to follow; no single or specific role. The deacon's first vocation is his marriage. In every case, once a man is ordained into the permanent diaconate, the role of the wife evolves and is shaped through prayer and reflection. The consistent role of the deacon's wife is to love and support her husband in his ministry. Through the foundation of love in their marriage, their mutual love of Christ and the Church, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the deacon, his wife, and their family find the unique response to the diaconate in their individual lives. If we are going to have a strong and vibrant community in our local church, a collective energizing support must be evident among the wives. Our husbands are joined by their vows and their calling to serve God and His Church through the diaconate. They have the opportunity to see each other at various liturgies and functions and their unique energy has a special inertia. We strive to have a similar collective energy within the wives' community so that we can honor the roles God has given us to provide the loving support to our deacon husbands. The Archdiocese of Atlanta Permanent Diaconate participated in a self study to identify the areas of strength that exist and to determine the areas in need of growth and/or expansion. The study identified that our Diaconate is strong and innovative! However, one of the initiatives for growth identified is to establish more avenues for involvement for the deacons' wives and their families. What better way to strengthen individual support of the deacon than to provide a means of collaborative support through the efforts of a structured wives group. Therefore, in 2009, the establishment of "Deacons' Wives & Families" in the Archdiocese of Atlanta became a reality. The goal is to enhance the strengths of the diaconate "community." This will be achieved by the following initiatives: Increasing avenues for communication Enhancing opportunities for gathering (adoption of the deanery model) Providing opportunities for spiritual growth Providing opportunities for advanced education Establishing avenues and structures to support the deacons, wives, and families The Deacon's first vocation is his marriage and family. As the Archdiocese of Atlanta continues to grow across North Georgia, more emphasis has been placed on working within smaller communities, called deaneries. There are 10 deaneries that provide a smaller structure for priests, deacons, parishes, and schools to work together to share goals, programs, and to nurture the growth and strength of the smaller community.

DEACONS' WIVES & FAMILIES STEERING COMMITTEE

The Steering Committee was formed from the Deacons' Wives & Families group. It is a group representing the 10 Deaneries in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The function of this committee is to serve in an advisory capacity to "steer" or aid the direction of the Deacons' Wives & Families Group. The members of this committee will serve on the committee for a term of one year or 18 months. This structure is intended to continuously involve Deacons' Wives in the role of commitment to the community and to provide consistent transition when new members of the committee assume their roles/responsibilities. If you would like to participate on this committee, please contact Susan Dorner, Interim Chair, at [email protected] The group will meet quarterly: October, January, April, and July. The members will not only obtain valuable input from the wives, but also be the vehicle for feedback from the wives committee to take back to their own parishes and deaneries. These wives serve as a "go to" resource for responding to the needs as well as looking forward to new initiatives and goals to be accomplished. It is within the structure of the 10 deaneries that the Deacons' Wives & Families Steering Committee was formed to provide representation of the deacons' wives within their deaneries. The goals for this committee include: To establish an organized effort of various supports to deacons' wives To increase communication within the deaneries for deacons and the deacons' wives community: both general and specific To enhance opportunities for "smaller communities" within the diaconate community by working within the deanery model To provide representation of the deanery with ideas for continued growth of the Wives & Families Group To provide opportunities for spiritual growth: wives experience their own spiritual journeys To provide a mentoring program to strengthen the positive role of the deacon's wife To provide opportunities for gathering: opportunities such as prayer groups, education, spiritual growth, retreats, and mentoring To provide the continuous prayer by our Deacons' Wives for those in our parishes, deaneries, and archdiocese who need our prayers through an organized prayer chain To establish a web link from the Permanent Diaconate website to accomplish these goals by enhancing archdiocesan-wide communication. The Permanent Diaconate link is www.archatl.com/ocations/deacons/

Deacons Wives and Families Steering Committee Function

With the ideal deanery model, 1 or 2 deacon's wives will serve on the steering committee as representatives of their specific deanery. Each wife would serve for 12 -18 months, depending on the needs on the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will have the following responsibilities: Ensure that each Steering Committee meeting has a representative present at the quarterly meetings o To update the committee as a whole on events and projects within the individual deaneries o To provide input and feedback regarding goals and initiatives the Wives & Families Group will be participating o To aid in the direction of the Wives & Families Group as we become a viable and support structure for the Wives community. Your "voice" is an important one to represent your deanery Steering Committee members are responsible for contacting the wives in their deaneries for the purpose of enhancing communication within the deanery. Steering Committee members are responsible for helping to ensure a current roster of deacons' wives within their deanery, with names and current contact information. By contacting wives within the deanery, committee members will share information about the website, opportunities for involvement, and committees that the wives may choose to participate in to help establish and grow the Deacons' Wives & Families Group Steering Committee members will share upcoming events for the wives such as retreats and seminars, social events within the deaneries, and important updates for them to check on the website. As our group is in the process of establishing its structures, members of the Steering Committee will "Chair" smaller committees to meet the goals established. You may contact the committee members through the gmail account:

[email protected]

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