Four deacons ordained at Pontifical Irish College, Rome

02 Apr 2013

Diaconate Ordination

Four deacons ordained at Pontifical Irish College, Rome

Today four seminarians from the Pontifical Irish College in Rome were ordained deacons in the fourth century Basilica of Saints John and Paul by Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly.  During the ceremony, attended by over one hundred family members and friends from Ireland, Archbishop Clifford recalled his own diaconate fifty years ago during the time of the Second Vatican Council.

Archbishop Clifford reminded the new deacons that the life of a deacon is a life of service, particularly service of the poor. He praised the candidates for their courage in undertaking a lifelong commitment to celibacy and service.  He reminded the four new deacons that the election of Pope Francis has signalled a time of hope and joy for the universal Church.

Liam Boyle (25)  of the Diocese of Raphoe entered the seminary following completion of his secondary education. Three of those ordained are graduates of Trinity College, Dublin. Brian Fitzpatrick (35) of the Diocese of Dromore is a medical doctor and past winner of the Young Scientists competition. Dominic McGrattan (29) of the Diocese of Down and Connor is a graduate in law while Pat O’Donoghue (35) of the Diocese of Cloyne is a pharmacy graduate.  All four deacons are currently studying theology at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome following previous seminary studies for three of them at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth and for the other at Saint Malachy’s College, Belfast. Ordination to the diaconate is most often received one year prior to ordination to the priesthood.

The Irish College in Rome dates from 1628 and has been educating generations of priests for service in Ireland’s twenty six dioceses since then. The four deacons were among students of the Irish College who assisted newly elected Pope Francis during the Good Friday liturgy in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Friday last.  Commenting on the ordination of the four deacons, the Rector of the College, Monsignor Ciaran O’Carroll, said that “it is heartening to witness the courage and dedication of these four men as they begin their life of ministry and service of the Gospel and the Catholic Church in Ireland”.


Notes to Editors

 There are three levels of holy orders in the Catholic Church: diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate.  Students for the priesthood are ordained deacons prior to their ordination as priests.  Deacons are ordained to represent Christ the servant sacramentally.  A deacon is called to embody the work of Christ in charity, in the word and at the altar.  There are as many ways of serving: deacons can baptise, witness marriages, bring viaticum to the dying, visit the sick and housebound, assist in sacramental preparation, promote knowledge of the social teaching of the Church, and preside at funerals.  Deacons proclaim the Gospel and may serve as the homilist at Mass.

  • Photographs from this ordination ceremony will be available in the afternoon from the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: 00353 (1) 505 3017 and Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678