THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ordained married deacons in a ceremony in Dublin last night.
While permanent deacons minister in other European countries, this is the first group to be ordained to the diaconate in Ireland.
The ceremony, which took place in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, lasted almost two hours and was presided over by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.
Archbishop Martin said it was a “historic day” in the life of the Archdiocese of Dublin adding that ordination of the eight men to the order of deacons restored the ancient order of permanent deacons.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, the Dublin Diocese said that deacons are not “lone rangers” but will join priests and lay parish pastoral workers in parishes.
The eight men ordained to the Permanent Diaconate are: Eric Cooney, from Monkstown, who is currently working in financial services; Gabriel Corcoran, of Dundrum, currently working as a lecturer in Dublin Institute of Technology; Gerard Larkin, of Templeogue; Gerard Reilly, of Donaghmede, who is working in financial services; Jim Adams, of Bonnybrook; Steve Maher, of Malahide, who is semi-retired and former Aer Lingus worker; Joe Walsh from Lucan and Noel Ryan from Ballinteer who are both retired.
During his homily (which can be read in full here) Archbishop Martin said that many will ask what deacons are exactly. He said that it is often looked upon as to what the deacon can or cannot do compared with the priest and the ministry of the deacon is looked on as some sort of second-class ministry. He said this was not correct and that the ordinations were a call to service.
There are also certain criteria the men must meet in order to be considered a deacon candidate.
Deacons must undergo four years of preparation to be ordained, which includes academic study, spiritual, human and pastoral formation.
They can assist the priest at the celebration of the Eucharist, of Baptism, marriage and preside at funerals.
Candidates to become deacons may be married or single.
A married man must be at least 35 years of age and a single man at least 25 years of age to be considered as candidates.
A married man must be married for at least five years and live in a “stable and valid marriage” and enjoy the “full support” of his wife. While a single man is required to have a “stable, settled life, a history of healthy relationships and be able and willing to accept celibacy”.
The new deacons are permitted to visit the sick, prisoners and the bereaved. They cannot say Mass or hear confessions.
Archbishop Martin said in his homily that “the Archdiocese of Dublin is undergoing great change” adding that being ordained as a deacon “is not an honour conferred on you, like an honorary doctorate recognising your service” but a calling to “renounce any temptation towards self-centeredness”.