The Ministry of Deacon is often described as one of service in three areas: the Word, the Liturgy and Charity. Deacons play a vital role in the life of our community.

The children of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Dinnington have been studying the life of St Stephen.

As part of their work they enjoyed a visit from Deacon Geoff Spark.

Ciara, a pupil at the school, explained what they had learnt about Deacons.

1476 --- The Demidoff Altarpiece: Saint Stephen --- Image by © National Gallery Collection; By kind permission of the Trustees of the National Gallery, London/CORBIS

St Stephen

                   Read her account below.

“In our class we have been learning about St Stephen who was chosen to spread the word. Stephen was the first deacon and was also a martyr which is someone who is willing to die for what they believe in. Talking about this lead us to think about what a deacon is. On Friday the first of May, Deacon Geoff came into our class to talk about what it is like to be a deacon. Now we know I will tell you.

Deacon Geoff visits St Joseph's s

Deacon Geoff Spark

To be a deacon you must train for at least four years although it took Deacon Geoff six, but that is because he spread out his training. Geoff told us that the first thing you have to do if you want to become a deacon is to go and see the Bishop, which in this case was Bishop John. He wanted to know what Geoff was doing in the parish already. When he had done that, he started to train. The first step of training is to go to night classes, read the Bible and pray for four years. He also had to write eight essays. What a lot of work! Deacon Geoff said that he trained in Sheffield at the Pastoral Centre.

Next Deacon Geoff told us about the main responsibilities of a deacon. He has to always be a role model and to live his life as Jesus might have done. Another responsibility is to praise the Church every day.

Twenty years ago Geoff was inspired to be a deacon when he was talking to someone who had retired from being a deacon. He told Geoff all about it and it stayed in his head for a long time. Finally, after two years, he decided that he wanted to become a deacon.

Being a deacon has changed Geoff’s life in many ways but he had to work very hard as well. He described being a deacon (as) an Icon, which means role model.

I really enjoyed having Deacon Geoff in our school.”