Two Irish seminarians ordained as deacons having served Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil

01 Apr 2016

  • “The Irish Church is being renewed, not so much to fit in with contemporary culture, as to stand out from it” – Bishop McKeown

On Easter Tuesday, in the beautiful Roman basilica dedicated to Saint Mark in the year 336AD, steps away from Piazza Venezia, in the heart of Rome, Bishop Donal McKeown ordained two students of the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, as deacons for service in the Diocese of Derry and in the Archdiocese of Dublin.  The seminarians had served Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil in Saint Peter’s Basilica over the weekend.

Reverend Malachy Gallagher (32) from Coleraine, Co Derry, and Reverend Bill O’Shaughnessy (28) from Castledermot, Co Kildare, were joined for the celebration by their fellow seminarians from the Pontifical Irish College as well as by a large group of family and friends who travelled from Ireland to this ordination ceremony.

In his homily during the Mass, Bishop McKeown encouraged the deacons, “not to be afraid to accompany their contemporaries on their journeys.  Have a divine patience and love for those to whom you will be sent to proclaim the Resurrection … Learn how to speak of the hope that is in Jesus Christ.”

Bishop McKeown continued, “I encourage you to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches – and especially to the churches of Dublin and Derry.  The uncomfortable word of God that calls us to repent has to be heard by us before we can ask others to repent and be baptised.  The temptation for Church in modern Ireland is to retreat behind ramparts of self-righteousness and fear.  That is where many would like us to be, roaring from behind the walls but talking only to ourselves. The Irish Church is being renewed, not so much to fit in with contemporary culture, as to stand out from it.”

Following the uplifting ceremony, the Rector of the Pontifical Irish College, Monsignor Ciarán O’Carroll said, “It is with great joy that we celebrate the ordination to the diaconate of two of our seminarians.  On behalf of everyone in the College I warmly congratulate Bill and Malachy on their ordination.  I wish them every happiness and blessing as they commence their diaconal ministries of service and charity, of leadership in prayer and liturgy, and of witness and proclamation of the Gospel message, during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.” 


Notes for Editors

  • Bishop Donal McKeown is the Bishop of Derry.
  • Please contact the Catholic Communications Office for the photograph taken after the ordination.  The caption for the photo reads: (left to right): Fr George Hayes (Vice Rector), Fr Thomas Norris (Spiritual Director), Rev Malachy Gallagher (new Deacon), Bishop Donal McKeown (Bishop of Derry), Rev Bill O’Shaughnessy (new Deacon), Fr Hugh Clifford (Director of Formation), Mons Ciarán O’Carroll (Rector).
  • The Pontifical Irish College in Rome was founded in 1628 and has been educating candidates for the priesthood for ministry in the twenty-six dioceses on the island of Ireland for almost four hundred years.  Currently, there are twelve seminarians from Irish dioceses in formation at the College.
  • For media contact:

– Fr Hugh Clifford, by email [email protected] or by telephone +39 06 772 63 202 (landline) or +39 388 586 2254 (mobile)

– Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth, Ireland on [email protected] or  +353 (1) 5053017