By Sean Ryan - 19 February, 2017
The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly has said that the Permanent Diaconate can really benefit the Catholic Church. Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly said that he hopes to introduce the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese at some point in the future and would also be in favour of extending it to include women.
Speaking this week to the Tipperary Star newspaper, Archbishop O’Reilly said “It has already been discussed with the Council of Priests and I would be very much in favour of it and in favour of extending it out to more than just men. The commission that the Holy Father set up to examine the role of women is very significant.
“It is a very exciting calling really because it extends ministry to a family man. It brings a father of children who is engaged in that side of life into the celebration of the sacraments, not to a full degree, but to a limited degree.”
Explaining the different perspective the Permanent Deaconate brings to the Catholic Church, he said “It changes the goalposts of what we understand about who can celebrate the mysteries. Good family men can be in this position. I know a good number of them and they are doing very well. It is going to become more and more a normal feature of life and we will be encounter it more and more because many of those ordained will be coming in contact with us at funerals and weddings, baptisms, etc.”
The Permanent Diaconate is a voluntary part-time ministry for married or single men. Deacons can assist the priest at the celebration of the Eucharist; they can celebrate baptism and marriage and preside at funerals. They also visit the sick, prisoners, and the bereaved, and promote awareness of the social teaching of the Church.
Deacons work in partnership with priests and parish pastoral workers, and their role includes supporting the parish structures that allow for the wider participation of the faithful in a range of ministries in the parish and in the wider community.
Those studying for the Permanent Diaconate would be ordained after a three to four year programme. The Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, which has a population of over 80,000 people, currently has a resident priest in each of its parishes.
For more information about the Permanent Diaconate, see www.catholicbishops.ie/diaconate.