Two Cork city men will make history this September 10th because they will be the first to be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in our diocese.
They have completed a part-time four year formation programme which is designed to prepare them to serve in the diocese in an appointment which will be given to them by the bishop.
Everyone who trains to be a priest spends part of their final year as an ordained deacon. Their ministry may include assisting at Mass with the priest, preaching, ministering Baptism, assisting at funeral rites, and other forms of service. After a suitable period as a deacon, a candidate for the priesthood goes on to be ordained a priest.
The early Church also had people ordained as deacons who continued to be deacons without becoming a priest. Hence the person is referred to as a Permanent Deacon.
Bishop Buckley says that while many of the functions performed by deacons may be undertaken by lay people, nonetheless, the Permanent Deaconate has a special place, too. “Many of the functions which deacons perform can also be carried out by the lay faithful. The restoration of the diaconate is not intended in any way to change that situation. Deacons who perform some of these functions would be strengthened by the grace of ordination. Deacons are not intended to replace lay people; on the contrary, they can play a key role in the development and coordination in the work of lay people and will minister in close cooperation with priests and lay people who are involved in parish work.”
A permanent deacon serves the parish to which he is assigned while continuing to fulfil the responsibilities of the rest of his life, e.g., family, work, etc.
A new Formation Course will begin in September this year. So the bishop asks us to think of who might be a suitable candidate. The diaconate is open to married and single men alike: married men must be at least 35 years on applying; celibate men can be accepted at 25. The upper age limit is 63 at ordination.
Those interested should contact their local priest or the Diocesan Director of the Permanent Diaconate, Canon Bertie O’Mahony, PP Ballineaspaig. Tel: 021- 434 694
* An explanatory leaflet with much more information is available here: Among You as One Who Serves.