St. Mary's Parish
St. Mary's Catholic Church -- 600 Avenue B Sterling, IL 61081 -- Call 815-625-0640 -- Rev. James Keenan- Pastor



The call to the Order of Deacon is a call to a ministry of service. Preparation for the Permanent Diaconate requires a dedication to the Gospel and the welfare of the Church. The potential candidate must be willing to complete a five year program of study open only to men.  The first two years of study are in ministry formation with the subsequent three years in diaconate formation.                           

For further information, please contact Father Keenan.


In acts 6:2, the apostles complained that “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables”.  They then appointed seven men of standing among the Greek speaking Christians to perform in that capacity.  They had in mind ministers who serve the needs of the community, most particularly in the distribution of food, and the care of orphans and widows.  The common service of waiting on tables reflects that the Christian office had its origin in the common meal at the heart of the life of the community, namely, the Lord’s Supper.  Thus, later in history, the Diaconate consisted in the assistance at divine services as well as in the external service of the community.

After Vatican II, the Rockford Diocese initiated the Permanent Diaconate and our parish has been favored to have vocations of men willing to serve in this capacity.  A deacon may Baptize, officiate at the Sacrament of Matrimony, proclaim the Gospel, and perform such other clerical duties as assigned by the Bishop or Pastor.  The Rite of Ordination to the Order of Deacons states “My sons, you are being raised to the Order of Deacon. The Lord has set an example for you to follow.  As Deacons, you will serve Jesus Christ, who was known among his disciples as the one who served others”.  Preparation for the Permanent Diaconate requires a dedication to the Gospel and the welfare of the Church and a willingness to complete a four year program of study and ministry formation open only to men.  Interested persons should contact the Pastor directly.