20 September 2010
First group begin formation for the Permanent Diaconate in Dublin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin celebrated the Rite of Admission to Candidacy, with the first group of men to begin their formation for the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese of Dublin, at a special ceremony at the Church of Divine Mercy in Lucan at the weekend.
Admission to Candidacy is a stage on the journey rather than a destination, but this celebration was particularly significant precisely because this is the first group.
In his homily (link to full text…) Archbishop Martin said,” This is an historic occasion. It is the first time in the modern history of the Archdiocese of Dublin that candidates are being called to formally enter into preparation for the permanent deaconate.” He said the deaconate is a specific ministry which in the coming years will bring further enrichment and renewal to the Church in the Archdiocese. Like any other ministry, he said, the deaconate is there for the building up of the Church; it serves the unity of the Church. He said,” no ministry is less worthy than another but no ministry is a world unto itself. “
Among the large attendance at Friday evening’s celebration were the wives and families of the ten candidates, parishioners and clergy from their parishes, lay pastoral worker candidates, and some of the eighteen seminarians currently in formation for priesthood in the diocese, as well as staff and fellow students from Mater Dei Institute of Education.
- In the early centuries of the Christian period, the diaconate existed as a distinct ministry with a particular focus on three dimensions of Ministry (proclaiming and preaching the Word of God, assisting at the Altar and engaging in the ministry of charity. In later centuries, the principal functions of the diaconate were gradually absorbed into the ministry of the priest. While the diaconate as a distinct ministry disappeared in the Western Church it remained a feature of the Eastern Church (both in the Catholic and the Orthodox traditions).
- Following the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI – as part of a wider renewal of ministry in the Church – restored the permanent diaconate in the Western Church. It was very much in keeping with the vision of the Second Vatican Council that there would be an ordained ministry in the Church which would have a particular focus on the care of those who are spiritually or socially marginalised.
- In 2006, the Holy See agreed to a request from the Irish Catholic Bishops for the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate in Ireland. Archbishop Martin initiated the programme for the Permanent Diaconate in 2008, alongside the programme for the formation of lay parish pastoral workers. A preliminary year of discernment (known as the propaedeutic year) was held in 2008-2009 and the present group of candidates began the formation programme proper in September 2009.
- In addition to their academic studies which take place at Mater Dei Institute, the candidates participate in a series of workshops which are designed support their own human and spiritual growth and to prepare them for pastoral ministry. They are also assigned a pastoral placement within the diocese. The demands of the formal programme have to be integrated with the responsibilities of family and professional life.
- The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for ordination to the Permanent Diaconate is celebrated when candidates have reached a maturity of purpose and are shown to have the necessary qualifications. The candidates are invited to express publicly their intention of receiving Holy Orders. The Archbishop accepts their intention publicly. The ten candidates are: Jim Adams, Eric Cooney, Gabriel Corcoran, Albert Fiedeldey, Charles Kavanagh, Gerard Larkin, Steve Maher Gerard Reilly, Noel Ryan, Joseph Walshe.
Further details on the diaconate programme are available on: www.vocations.dublindiocese.ie or Fr. Kevin Doran, Diocesan Director for the Permanent Diaconate at 087 2447358
Photos available from John Mc Elroy photos at 087 2416985