Bishop calls for more deacons as first recruits close to ordination.Monday, May 7th, 2012
The bishop of Elphin Dr Christopher Jones, has renewed his call for men in his diocese to consider serving the church as permanent deacons.
Later this year, the first ordination of six men to the new deaconate will take place, and Dr Jones has now invited married or single men who may be interested to make contact. The six trainees are due to complete their four-year part-time training programme in a few months and December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, has already been earmarked for the historic ordination ceremony.
The new deacons will officiate at baptisms, weddings, funerals and other services throughout the Sligo area and provide much-needed relief for the diocese’s overstretched clergy.
Fr. Michael Duignan, Director for the Permanent Diaconate in the diocese said, "We are now accepting enquiries from married and single men who may feel called to ministry as permanent deacons.”
“The training programme will begin in October or November and we will have consultations and discussions with anyone interested,” he explained, adding that the bishop would be, “delighted to welcome any expressions of interest.”
He reiterated that single men over 30 and married men over-35 and under-60 can apply to become deacons but if they are single, they must take a promise of celibacy when they are ordained and live from then on as celibates. If they are married, they will not be allowed to remarry should their spouse predecease them.
The first batch of six deacons now concluding their preparation will be the first to serve in the diocese of Elphin since ancient times or perhaps, ever. The Elphin diocese is leading the way in the process of setting up a diaconate in this country, which has been slow to come to fruition.
In 2010, Cardinal Seán Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin both admitted a group of men from the Archdioceses of Armagh and Dublin as candidates for the Permanent Diaconate and the initiative has also been launched in the diocese of Kilmore.
It is twelve years since the establishment of a permanent diaconate in Ireland was first mooted when the Irish bishops decided that in the light of the pastoral needs of the Church in Ireland the time was right for the restoration of the permanent diaconate and applied to the Holy See for permission to establish one.
In 2005, their proposal received the approval of the Congregation for Catholic Education in and the following year, a National Directory and Norms for the diaconate was published.
by Fintan Deere