Two students of the Pontifical Irish College in Rome, Reverend Stephen Duffy (38) from Ballybay, Co Monaghan, and Reverend Daniel Gallagher (25) from Bohermore in Galway city were today, Easter Tuesday, ordained as deacons by Bishop Martin Drennan, Bishop of Galway, who travelled to Rome for this special occasion. The liturgy was celebrated in the Church of San Silvestro in Capite, an 8th century minor basilica dedicated to Pope Sylvester I, which is under the care of the Irish Pallotine Fathers and is the titular church of Cardinal Desmond Connell, Archbishop Emeritus of Dublin, who is its cardinal priest.
In a moving ceremony, in which the new deacons were joined by over eighty family members and friends, Bishop Drennan reminded the two deacons that “at the heart of life is service. Every gift that God gives is not just for ourselves. It is for others, to be shared, and will bring most joy when it is shared.” Bishop Drennan continued, “We need to name accurately what cripples. High on the list is an aggressive individualism that asserts my rights, my opinions, my beliefs and gives little space to inherited wisdom, tradition, and institutions. Large swathes of our world have forgotten two basic lessons that we all need to learn: there is a God, and I am not He! It is our privilege to remind people of God.” Focusing on the Gospel of the paralytic who was lowered through the roof into the presence of Jesus, Bishop Drennan said, “The more secular our world becomes the greater the difficulty it has with the idea of forgiveness. Healed wounds don’t hurt but the unhealed wounds certainly do and without the touch of God’s mercy they continue to cause pain. Like those who laid the paralysed man before Jesus, we are called to find creative ways to bring people to Jesus, to make openings in places that shut people off from God, to identify accurately what paralyses, to bring it along and lay it before Jesus.”
The two deacons will be ordained to the priesthood during the next year for service in their respective dioceses, Clogher and Galway. Commenting after today’s ordination Mass Monsignor Ciarán O’Carroll, Rector of the College, said, “Today, Easter Tuesday, the community of the Pontifical Irish College rejoices with Stephen and Daniel. We thank God for their particular vocation in life and accompany them with our prayers. I wish them every blessing and happiness in the exercise of their diaconal ministry. May they be given the grace to proclaim the Gospel in both word and deed. May they serve the people of God in their respective dioceses with love, courage, care and compassion. Inspired by the example of the Holy Father Pope Francis may they be true friends to the poor and the voice of the forgotten. May the Lord, who has begun such good work in our deacons, bring it to completion.”
Notes to Editors
- Photographs from today’s ceremony are available to media by contacting the Catholic Communications Office.
- Reverend Duffy has a background in management in the food industry, and Reverend Gallagher is a graduate of Irish and history from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
- In the Catholic Church the diaconate is the first of three ranks of ordained ministry. It is a ministry of service which is referenced in the New Testament. Whilst there is only one diaconate, deacons preparing for the priesthood are transitional deacons (and those not planning to be ordained as priests are called permanent deacons).
- The Pontifical Irish College, Rome, was founded in 1628 and has been educating candidates for the priesthood for ministry in the twenty six dioceses of Ireland for almost four hundred years. Currently there are twelve seminarians from Irish dioceses in formation at the College.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth: +353 (0) 5053017, and Martin Long +353 (0) 86 1727678