Joy at first ordinations to Permanent DiaconateWednesday, June 6th, 2012
An historic day in the life of the Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin is how Archbishop Diarmuid Martin described the ordination of eight men to the permanent deaconate on Monday evening.
The ceremony, the first in the Irish Church in contemporary times, restores the ancient order of permanent deacons within the Irish Church.
These first men will serve in a voluntary part-time capacity.
In his homily at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Archbishop Martin reminded the men that ministry in the Church is not about power but about calling and witness.
“Deacons are called to a special witness of a vital dimension of the life of the Church: the ministry of Jesus who serves,” he said. Whenever ministry loses the characteristic of service, then it can quickly degenerate into the opposite to ministry, to that, “self-indulgence which is the opposite of the spirit,” the Archbishop said.
He reminded the eight that their calling, “is to renounce any temptation towards self-centeredness, towards using ministry and using others really for your own needs.”
The eight have spent four years studying and preparing for their ordination to the diaconate. They will now be able to assist priests in the celebration of the Mass and oversee baptisms, as well as officiate at marriages and funerals.
The eight new deacons are Eric Cooney from Monkstown, who works in financial services; Gabriel Corcoran from Dundrum, a lecturer in the Dublin Institute of Technology; Gerard Larkin from Templeogue; Gerard Reilly from Donaghmede, who also works in financial services; Jim Adams from Donnybrook; Joe Walsh, retired, from Lucan; Noel Ryan, retired, from Ballinteer; and Steve Maher from Malahide, a former Aer Lingus employee.
Fifteen out of the Irish Church’s twenty-six dioceses have indicated their support for the permanent diaconate. At the moment, the dioceses of Armagh, Dromore, Kilmore, Kildare & Leighlin, Waterford & Lismore, and Kerry have formation programmes for men on the path to this ministry.
In his homily, Archbishop Martin warned of a failure to understand the deaconate as a ministry by concentrating on what the deacon can or cannot do compared with the priest or by looking on it as, “some sort of second-class ministry.”
He said that people who speak or write in this framework fail to understand that the order of deacons is not just about doing things; “it 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 Jesus who serves,” the Archbishop said.
By Sarah Mac Donald