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Deacons in Diocese of Green Bay will soon be able to wear a Roman collar

By Deacon Shaun Johnson | For On Mission

ALLOUEZ — Recently, Bishop David Ricken made the decision that permanent deacons will have the option to wear the Roman collar. Each bishop determines the clerical garb of permanent deacons in his diocese according to Canon Law, which governs the Catholic Church.  

Before reaching a decision on the matter, there was a great deal of conversation and consultation from the priests and deacons of the Diocese of Green Bay as well as the Presbyteral Council. During this consultation, in my role as diaconate director, I consulted with many other dioceses in the nation which allow deacons the option as well as the four other dioceses in Wisconsin which all allow their deacons the option.  

Following all of this consultation, Bishop Ricken discerned that it would indeed be beneficial to the ministry of the permanent diaconate if deacons were allowed the option to wear the Roman collar. 

So, you may see your deacon at the parish office, at a baptism, funeral, wedding or other official gathering of the parish or diocese start wearing a gray clerical shirt with a Roman collar and a name tag after April 20, when the new policy goes into effect. 

Some deacons will choose to exercise the option to wear a collar and some will not, but this does not mean that one or the other is any less of a deacon than the other, just simply that one has chosen to wear the collar and the other has not. 

Deacons will have the option to wear the collar with a gray clerical shirt any time they are officially representing their parish, the Catholic Church or when they are participating in a function of the church.  

Though this may seem confusing at first, it became clear through consultation with priests and deacons that there should be a distinguishing factor between the clerics of a priest and those of a deacon. This is why deacons will be allowed only to wear the gray clerical shirt with a name tag that clearly states their clerical status of “Deacon” along with his name.

Deacon Johnson is the diaconate director for the Diocese of Green Bay and serves as a deacon at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, De Pere. 

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