During his homily Cardinal Brady said: Because the Good Shepherd knows and loves his people, he raises up candidates to become Permanent Deacons in the Church. The word ‘deacon’ basically means servants. The deacon is essentially one who serves. That service can take many forms – the service of the Word of God – that reading and explaining and preaching the Good News – so that people may hear that Good News as Good News. It means prayers with, and for, God’s people.
It can mean service at the altar in the form of celebrating the sacrament of Baptism, or witnessing, on behalf of the Church, the sacrament of marriage – which is always celebrated and administered by the spouses themselves to each other. It could mean bringing Holy Communion to the sick and elderly and housebound – something that is already being done and will continue to be done by the ministers of the Eucharist.
Finally, being a Deacon can mean serving that section of the Family of God who are poor and hungry and homeless – who are sick or in prison.
So today is a red-letter day in the history of the diocese as six candidates officially declare their desire to serve the people of God as Permanent Deacons. I thank them. I thank their wives and families who support this decision. I thank Father Gates and his team of helpers who have conducted the process of selection and preparation and formation. I ask God to bless all concerned in this noble adventure now and always. The Good Shepherd does not, and will never, leave his beloved people without the care of his saving grace and love.
After the ceremony Fr. John Gates, Director of the Permanent Diaconate Process in the diocese said: I am proud to see that after two years of organisation and preparation we now have six excellent candidates in formation for the Permanent Diaconate. I ask people to pray for these men and their wives and families as they journey through the next two and a half years of formation towards Ordination. I have no doubt that they will make an immense contribution to the life of our archdiocese and our Church. I also ask people to remember the seven men who began a period of discernment for the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese in October and who will be selected in May for formation. This venture is a tremendous sign of new hope and vitality in our Church.
We ask the Lord’s blessing on the Permanent Diaconate candidates.