Four Irish Deacons Ordained in Rome

22 Apr 2003


22 APRIL 2003

Issued by the Catholic Communications Office on behalf of the Pontifical Irish College, Rome


Four Irishmen were ordained deacons in Rome yesterday, Easter Monday. The ordination,
organised by the Pontifical Irish College, was celebrated by Bishop Colm O’Reilly
(Ardagh and Clonmacnois) in the Church of Sant’ Alfonso, the shrine of the icon of
Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Those ordained were John Mockler (Limerick), Padraig Kelliher (Ardagh and Clonmacnois),
John Hogan (Meath) and Liam Kelly OFM (Franciscan Province of Ireland). The ordination
was attended by the parents, family members and friends of the new deacons together with
Fr Ulic Troy OFM, Minister Provincial of the Irish Franciscans and Monsignor Liam Bergin,
Rector of the Pontifical Irish College.

The group will be received in Audience by Pope John Paul II tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd April

In his homily, at the ordination, Bishop Colm O’Reilly said that: “The first deacons were
chosen in response to the Church’s first crisis. It was brought to the attention of the Apostles
that an important part of Christ’s mandate was not being fulfilled. The needs of some of the
new followers of Christ were being neglected.

The response of the Apostles has something to teach the Church in our time. They produced a
plan for the recruitment of new helpers and presented it to the whole group of believers. They
responded approvingly, took up the idea and elected seven deacons. Can Church leadership respond
to present difficulties and open up new opportunities to respond to present needs?

The Acts of the Apostles shows the first deacons in an administrative role. Those who are in
ministry today must also serve the Church by their administration. Much of their work is routine.
But never dismiss what is routine – and even dull – as therefore of little worth. People who
are served by faithful pastors who do the routine work of the Church in their parishes are
generous in their praise of that loyalty.

The deacons appointed by the apostles were, of course, more than administrators. Stephen, the
first named of the seven, was soon in trouble for his forthright preaching of the word. It was
for this that he was martyred. Laurence, the most famous deacon of the Roman Church, is portrayed
in murals with symbols of his martyrdom and his preaching, the grid iron and the Book of the
Gospels. St. Francis of Assisi who remained a deacon until his death, told his friars to preach
using words when necessary!

The deacons being ordained today will need to be good preachers in word, but also as the rite of
ordination reminds them, by being in every way true heralds of the word:

“Believe what you read,
teach what you believe
and practise what you teach.”

The words of the Gospel remind us that Christ gave to His church the precious ministry of forgiveness.
“Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven…”. Those who save the Church in ministry, remind
our broken and sad world of that lasting gift. The poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, wrote beautifully
about this gift of God’s Spirit “the Holy Ghost broods over the bent world with warm breast and
with ah! bright wings”. May the four new deacons being ordained, take the beautiful and hopeful
message of God’s love and forgiveness wherever they minister.”

22nd April 2003

Further information:
Ms Brenda Drumm (087 233 7797)
Mgr Liam Bergin, Pontifical Irish College, Rome (0039 06 772631)

Click here for photo of Deacons with Bishop Colm O’Reilly.

Pontifical Irish College, Rome
Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
Diocese of Limerick
Diocese of Meath
Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors in Ireland