Deacon in the pews

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Thank you for your informative blog. It has been a valuable resource as a new deacon. A recent post mentioned a deacon is expected to don vestments when at Mass. Does this mean I should not attend Mass sitting in the pews? For Lent I have a goal of attending Mass daily but it’s not possible to do this solely at my parish due to the schedule. Am I doing something wrong? Can I not sit as a Christian in the pews?


A: A lot of deacons do what you do—sit in a pew for daily Mass. It’s not necessarily “wrong”, but it means that the priest is covering the parts of the Mass that are designed for a deacon, and the deacon is participating as a member of the assembly instead of fulfilling his liturgical function.

You’re describing a situation where you participate as a member of the assembly in the nave of another parish. I agree that that situation poses some practical difficulties.

In general, a deacon sitting in a pew is not the best practice, but a lot of deacons and priests seem to prefer it that way.