Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin celebrates ordination of seven Permanent Deacons

09 Oct 2013

Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin celebrates ordination of seven Permanent Deacons

  • Diocese celebrates three orders of ordination this year: bishop, priest and deacon

Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, will be the ordaining bishop for this Sunday’s ordination Mass of seven Permanent Deacons. You, or a representative, are invited to attend.  Details:

Venue            Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow

Time               3:00pm

Date                Sunday, 13 October 2013


The ordination of seven permanent deacons marks an historic moment in the history of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.  People and priests from the 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. Family members of the deacons will have a special place at the Mass on Sunday.


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.

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 the permanent deacons 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.

Seven new Permanent Deacon

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

  • John Dunleavy, Parish of Clane, Co Kildare, married to Rosemary, two sons, Eoin and Brian.  John is retired from An Garda Síochána
  • Gary Moore, Parish of Rhode, Co. Offaly, married to Dolores, six children, Laura, Niamh, Linda, Ellen, Caitlín and Charley. Gary is actively involved in various ministries.
  • David O’Flaherty, Parish of Cathedral Parish, Carlow, married to Maria, three children, Hazel, Jack  and Rory. David is principal of a school in Bagenalstown.
  • Fergal O’Neill, Parish of Naas, Co. Kildare, married to Mary, six children, Michael, Cliodhna,  Aoife, Eadaoin, Karl and Sidhbh. Fergal is teaching in Knocklyon.
  • Joe O’Rourke, Parish of Doonane, Co. Laois, married to Philomena, two daughters, Jessica and Kate.  Joe is a full time student of catechetics.
  • Patrick Roche, Parish of Leighlin, Co. Carlow, married to Mairead, three children, Tessa, Lucy and  Patrick. Patrick works in the area of financial services.
  • Jim Stowe, Parish of  Newbridge, Co. Kildare, married to Carmel, two children, Philip and Emma.  Jim works in the area of IT in a school in Edenderry.

Speaking ahead of the ordination, Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin said: “The ordination of seven permanent deacons in Carlow on Sunday is a first for our diocese. It was pointed out to me recently that 2013 has been a remarkable year of ‘firsts’ or new beginnings in our Church and in our diocese. We have had the election of Pope Francis, our first Pope from Latin America. Closer to home, we had my own ordination as Bishop and the ordination to priesthood of Father Terence McGovern, the first in a number of years and now we have our first permanent deacons. So, the Diocese has celebrated the three orders of ordination this year: bishop, priest and deacon.

“All these new beginnings remind us that the Lord is forever calling us to new life in him. At times, we might believe that our path will always be the same or even that our course is run but the message of the Gospel is about how the Lord leads us in new life-giving directions.

“I hope that we can have a new approach to the issue of vocations to the priesthood. I firmly believe that the Lord is still calling men to the priesthood and that priesthood is a precious ministry which needs to be sustained. I want to do all I can to support those who may wish to spend time discerning their calling. I ask you to keep such candidates in your prayers. A few words of support and encouragement to a friend or family member can make a deep impression. Again, I thank everyone for their prayers and kindness. I thank our priests for their service and example to future candidates. May we all continue to serve the Lord with gladness.

“I am delighted to welcome John, Gary, David, Fergal, Joe, Patrick and Jim into ordained ministry in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.  I pray that their ministry will be a great source of blessing and joy for them, their families and the people whom they are called to serve.”


Notes to Editors

A Permanent Deacon receives his mission from his bishop, 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.

  • John McElroy is the official photographer for the ordination Mass and can be contacted for photographs on 087 2416985.
  • For more information on the ceremony please see www.kandle.ie. Sunday’s ceremony can be viewed on the Carlow Cathedral web camera at the following link: http://www.carlowcathedral.ie/webcam/
  • Interviews with some of the Permanent Deacons can be arranged on request.

For media contact: Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin: Fr Mícheál Murphy 00353 (0) 86 824 4629 and Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444.