Researcher delves into deacon study

Deacon Joseph Ferrari (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

After spending a sabbatical year spearheading his own research into the unknown lives of Catholic deacons, Joseph Ferrari learned that permanent deacons, no matter their age or location, have similar leadership styles.

"The first thing I wanted to look at was: Are deacons different, based on their generation and their geography, on their personality?" said Ferrari, a deacon himself and a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. "We are finding, that regardless of their age, of the time of when they were ordained, regardless of where they're living, across generation and geography, the U.S. Catholic deacon[s] have similar personalities. ... They're honest men, they're fairly extroverted, they're agreeable, they're relatively conscientious, they're intellectually curious men."

More on this study is being published in The Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health in winter 2015.

Ferrari also noted that deacons are reporting similar leadership style (relatively strong servant leadership and relatively strong transformational leadership) across generations and geography.

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