I extend a warm welcome to you all on this special day as we celebrate the ordination of Paul Flynn to the Permanent Diaconate.
In welcoming Paul, I welcome his wife Angela & family. Welcome and thank you to those involved in Paul’s formation. Great to see Bishop Leo O’Reilly here. Bishop Liam MacDaid & Bishop Joseph Duffy are with us in prayer. I thank the Priests of Clogher & Kilmore for their attendance and extend a Céad Míle Fáilte to all present.
We gather on the Feast of the Presentation – celebrating with Simeon & Anna that God’s light has come into our world. The challenge to us of the feast is that we be the light of Christ in actions & attitudes.
One of the mysteries of our faith is that God calls weak human beings to work in his name. We see it with Abraham, David, the prophets, the Apostles and men and women down to today. God’s call changes plans and directions of many lives.
The Diaconate was a feature of life in the early Church. The Acts of the Apostles tells us about the call of Stephen (Acts 6:1-7). For centuries deacons ministered assisting at Eucharist, preaching the gospel and exercising the ministry of charity. Best remembered of these deacons were St Lawrence and St Francis of Assisi. Gradually, in the Western Church the function of deacon was absorbed into the ministry of priesthood.
In the 1960s, the Second Vatican Council laid great emphasis on baptism and mission by both lay and ordained. As part of this the Council proposed the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate emphasising its call to service. Three areas of service are listed: Altar, Word & Charity. One might ask what can a deacon do in these areas. Let me give some guidance as to areas of service by the deacon:
Assist priest at celebration of the Eucharist.
Presiding at exposition and Benediction.
Celebrating baptism, marriage and presiding at funeral.
Proclaiming the Gospel and preaching the homily.
Visiting & bringing communion to the sick.
Visiting & supporting the bereaved.
Assisting & administration of parish & diocese.
Promote social teaching of the Church.
So, you can see the Permanent Deacon is a blessing on the Christian Community.
On the Feast of the Presentation Jesus Christ was presented to the wider world in the temple as God’s blessing – enabling Simeon to rejoice & exclaim: “My eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see” (Luke 2: 30-31).
This evening is Paul Flynn’s presentation. We pray that his ordination and his service as a Deacon brings blessing and salvation on all he encounters.
We thank you Paul, Angela, Aisling, Peter, Leo & Felicity, and the extended family too for your generosity of spirit. We pray that all of you will continue to be blessed by God in the days ahead.
Notes to editors
- Bishop Larry Duffy is Bishop of Clogher
- This Homily will be preached at Mass in St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen
- Following the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI – as part of a wider renewal of ministry in the Church – restored the permanent diaconate in the Western Church. It was very much in keeping with the vision of the Second Vatican Council that there would be an ordained ministry in the Church which would have a particular focus on the care of those who are spiritually or socially marginalised.
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