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Ordination of permenant deacons

By editor - 26 June, 2013

Three men were ordained as Permanent Deacons in St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin on Sunday evening (June 23rd). Jimmy Fennell, Michael Giblin and Derek Leonard are the second group of men to be ordained in Dublin to this revived ministry in the Irish Church. Last year eight were ordained to the permanent deaconate, for the first time in centuries.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin ordained the three men and said the call to the deaconate today is a call to be configured in a special way to Jesus who serves and to represent in a special way in the life of the Church. In his homily, the Archbishop said, “Your configuration to Jesus who serves must from today onwards become part of your identity, something you must fully integrate into the way you live.   All ministry in the Church is service. It must reach out.  Whenever ministry looses the characteristic of service and reaching out then it degenerates into the opposite to ministry, to self-indulgence and self-promotion.”

He spoke of Pope Francis’ talk at the meeting of the Cardinals just before the Conclave that elected him successor of Saint Peter as Bishop of Rome.  The Archbishop said:“It was a single handwritten page.  The dominant word was la periferia: “the periphery”, “the outskirts”, “the frontiers”.    He said that the Church is called boldly to break out of herself and go towards the outskirts, not only the outskirts of place but also to the outskirts and the frontiers of human existence.  Pope Francis added when the Church does not break out of herself in that way she becomes self-referential: closed in within itself, thinking only of itself.”

Permanent deacons assist the priest at the celebration of the Eucharist; celebrate Baptism and Marriage and preside at funerals. They also facilitate visiting the sick, prisoners and the bereaved and promoting awareness of the social teaching of the church. In partnership with priests and parish pastoral workers, their role includes supporting the structures, which allow for the wider participation of lay people in a range of ministries in the parish and in the wider community.

In the Archdiocese of Dublin, there are now 436 priests with appointments; many retired priests also continue to assist in parish duties. There are 31 parish pastoral workers holding Diocesan appointments (21 women and 10 men). The role of the parish pastoral worker is to work with priests and communities in developing an understanding of faith and to support and develop parish initiatives around prayer and the sacraments.

Following these three ordinations there are 11 permanent deacons in Dublin. Another three candidates for the permanent deaconate are engaged in the formation process and a further eight are due to begin formation this September. The Catholic population of the Archdiocese of Dublin is 1.2 million. The permanent deaconate is a voluntary part-time ministry, for married or single men, however if deacons have taken early retirement or reduced their work commitments they may be able to offer a greater time commitment.

Jimmy Fennell is a parishioner of St. Agnes Parish, Crumlin who runs his own electrical repair business. He has been actively involved in the Brú Youth Service in Crumlin and spent many years as an officer in the Naval Reserve

Michael Giblin, from Knocklyon, is married to Eileen. They have three children.  He is an IT Manager and has been actively involved for many years in St. Colmcille’s Parish, serving among other things as Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council.

Derek Leonard is a parishioner of St. Mochta’s Parish, Porterstown, where he lives with his wife Orla and their son and daughter. A businessperson, Derek has been involved in the parish faith-friends programme, helping children to prepare for Confirmation.

All three have completed three years of formation, including third-level studies in theology and life-long learning at Mater Dei Institute. They have also participated in a series of residential weekends which focussed on the development of pastoral skills, and personal and spiritual growth.

Full text of homily on: www.dublindiocese.ie

Photo by John McElroyPhotos

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