THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in Dublin has ordained three more permanent deacons as part of wider efforts to rejuvenate the ministry.
Jimmy Fennell, Michael Giblin and Derek Leonard will be ordained in a ceremony at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral this evening. It is the second such ceremony to take place in just over a year. The first permanent deacons to be ordained in centuries began their work last June.
The men, two of whom are married, will be allowed to assist priests in the Eucharist, celebrate Baptism and marriage, as well as preside at funerals.
They are also expected to facilitate visiting the sick, prisoners and the bereaved and promote awareness of the social teaching of the church. However, they cannot say Mass or hear confessions.
Deacons must undergo four years of preparation to be ordained, which includes academic study, spiritual, human and pastoral formation. Candidates may be married or single but there are certain restrictions on both categories.
A married man must be at least 35 years of age and a single man at least 25 years of age to be considered.
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”.
Fennell is a parishioner of St. Agnes Parish, Crumlin. He runs his own electrical repair business and has been involved in the Brú Youth Service. He also spent many years as an officer in the Naval Reserve.
The second man to be ordained is Michael Giblin from Knocklyon. He is married to Eileen and has three children. An IT Manager, he has been actively involved in St. Colmcille’s Parish for many years, serving as Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council.
Finally, 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.
In his homily this evening, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, “The call to take up the cross is not a negative call to self-annihilation, to a masochistic hatred of self or a disregard for self. Yet neither is it pure metaphor.
“Taking up the cross means that we fight continuously against that egoism and self-justification which constantly threatens us, a temptation to think of myself as the measure of reality and relationships, rather than allowing myself to be freed to serve others and to generate thoughts not of self-importance but thoughts words and action which foster a spirit of genuine care and love for others, as Jesus revealed God through his self-giving love.”