Archbishop Diarmuid Martin ordains three seminarians from the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, as deacons

18 Apr 2017

Three seminarians of the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, were ordained deacons on Easter Tuesday by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, at the Church of Saint Alphonsus on the Via Merulana in Rome.  Rev James Daly (57), originally from Midleton, Co Cork, a former parish pastoral worker and teacher, and Rev Robert Smyth (32), from Knocklyon in Dublin, a former management consultant, were ordained for the Archdiocese of Dublin, while Rev Seán Mulligan (46), from Knockatallon, Co Monaghan, a former intellectual disabilities nurse, was ordained for the Diocese of Clogher.  All three are transitional deacons, meaning that they are due to be ordained to the priesthood at a later stage.

Deacons are ordained to a ministry of service, with a special concern for the poor and those in need.  They also carry out various sacramental and liturgical roles in the name of the Church, such as baptising, assisting at the altar and reading the Gospel at Mass, preaching, presiding at certain occasions of prayer and at parts of wedding and funeral liturgies.

Family members and friends of the new deacons travelled from Ireland to be present at the ceremony.  The Church of Saint Alphonsus is in the care of the Redemptorist order and it houses the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

In his homily, Archbishop Martin spoke of how God has called each of the new deacons by name, to be loved, and to live in service to God’s people, collaborating with the rich variety of other ministries in the Church.

Commenting on the ordination, the Rector of the Irish College, Monsignor Ciarán O’Carroll said, “It is with great joy that we celebrate the ordination to the diaconate today of three seminarians from the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.  On behalf of everyone at the Pontifical Irish College I congratulate James, Robert and Seán on their ordination.  I wish them every happiness and blessing as they commence their diaconal ministries of service, of charity and of leadership in prayer and liturgy.  May they experience God’s grace anew in their lives so that they may courageously proclaim the Gospel in word and deed, generously serving the people of God in their various dioceses with care and compassion.”


  • The Pontifical Irish College in Rome was founded in 1628 and has been educating candidates for the priesthood for ministry in the twenty-six Irish dioceses for almost four hundred years.  Currently, there are fourteen seminarians from Irish dioceses in formation at the College.
  • The Sacrament of Orders has three degrees (i) Deacon, (ii) Priest and (iii) Bishop. ‘Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all. Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity. – Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1570.
  • Photographs are available on request from the Catholic Communications Office.

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