Archdiocese of Armagh celebrates Ordination of five Permanent Deacons

27 Sep 2013

Archdiocese of Armagh celebrates Ordination of five Permanent Deacons

You, or a representative, are invited to attend the ordination of five men to the Permanent Diaconate which will take place in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, this Sunday 29 September at 3.00 pm.

The ordinations mark an historic milestone in the illustrious history of the Archdiocese of Armagh.  Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, will be the ordaining prelate for Sunday’s ordination Mass and Archbishop Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, will preach the homily.  Priests of the Armagh diocese will be in attendance at the Mass as well as those involved in delivering the theological, spiritual and human formation programme to the permanent deacons.

Great Joy

Speaking ahead of the ordination, Cardinal Brady said: “It is with a sense of great joy that we welcome Martin, David, Andy, Benignus and John into ordained ministry in the Archdiocese.  It is my fervent prayer that their ministry will be a great source of blessing for them, their families and the people whom they are called to serve.”


A common feature of ministry in the early Church and the centuries that ensued, the functions of the Permanent Deacon became absorbed by priestly ministry and the Permanent Diaconate ceased to exist.  The Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965) sought to restore this important ministry of service, the word “deacon” meaning one who serves.  In 2005 the Irish Episcopal Conference decided to re-introduce the Permanent Diaconate to Ireland and the first Permanent Deacons were ordained in Dublin in 2011.

Five new Permanent Deacons

All of these men have undertaken a very intensive formation programme over the past four years and today begin their journey in ordained ministry.  These men are:

  • Martin Barlow, Parish of Drumcree, Portadown, married to Ursula, two sons, Shea and Oisin. Martin is a graphic designer.
  • David Durrigan, Parish of Ardee, married to Ciara, four children, Ella, Dara, Rosa, Treasa.  David is an IT consultant.
  • Andy Hegarty, Parish of Cookstown, Andy is married to Mary, four children, Paul, Brenda, Niall and Maria. Andy is a prison chaplain.
  • Benignus Ndubuisi, Parish of Saint Patrick’s, Dundalk, married to Celestina, four children, Chisom, Chibuikem, Chidinma. Ben is a Health Care Worker.
  • John Taaffe, Parish of Drogheda, married to Joan, three children, Amy, Conor and Aaron.  John is the National Coordinator of the Irish Bishops’ Drug Initiative.

The first responsibility of the Permanent Deacon is to be an effective visible sign of Christ, who came to serve rather than to be served.  Although most of these men will exercise their ministry on a part-time basis, they remain at all times a deacon, and they are called in their lifestyle to reflect this.  The ministry of the deacon is an expression of his being, an icon of Christ the servant.  The normal areas of ministry which may be entrusted to deacons can be categorised under the general headings: Pastoral, Liturgical and Faith Development:


Visiting the sick; Visiting prisoners; Visiting the bereaved; Youth Ministry; Working with the poor and the homeless; Promoting awareness of the social teaching of the Church; Promotion of justice and human rights.


Proclaiming the Gospel at Mass; Preaching the homily; Assisting the priest at Mass (Sign of Peace and Dismissal); leading communion services, when need arises; bringing the Eucharist to the sick at home and in hospitals (nursing homes); Presiding at Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; the celebration of Baptism; celebrating marriages; presiding at funerals – (also removals, reception of remains, burials).

Faith Development

Participation in sacramental preparation programmes; formation of Ministers of the Eucharist; formation of Ministers of the Word; formation of Altar servers; facilitating study of, and prayer with, the Scriptures; facilitating the development of lay ministry; chaplaincy to various parish groups; school chaplaincy.


Notes to Editors

  • A Permanent Deacon receives his mission from the Archbishop, and is assigned to work as a member of a team under the leadership of the Parish Priest.  The Permanent Deacon is called to minister in close-collaboration with priests and with laity who are entrusted with various ministries.  Whilst deacons play a key role in the development and coordination of lay ministry, they are not intended to replace lay ministries.
  • Media requests to interview Martin Barlow and John Taaffe can be made by contacting: Father John Gates, Director of Formation in the Archdiocese of Armagh, 00 44 (0)7980276423; and/or the Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678.
  • Liam McArdle is the official photographer for the ordination Mass and Liam can be contacted for photographs on 0044 7900 107362.
  • The Archdiocese of Armagh has a Catholic population of over 237,000 people, comprises 61 parishes and 150 churches. The archdiocese includes almost all of counties Armagh and Louth, approximately half of County Tyrone and parts of counties Derry and Meath. See for more information. The patron saints of the Archdiocese of Armagh are: Saint Malachy, Saint Patrick and Saint Oliver Plunkett.
  • Cardinal Seán Brady is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

For media contact: Father John Gates, Director of Formation, 00 44 (0)7980276423; Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678