The Permanent Diaconate

Published on December 11, 2020

We congratulate Liam Dunne, Carlow who will be ordained a Permanent Deacon this Saturday, 12th December by Bishop Denis Nulty in Carlow Cathedral at 3 p.m. Liam will join Rathvilly Kiltegan Parish Team from next weekend.

The Permanent Diaconate
The Diaconate is an ordained ministry which is rooted in scripture. Chapter 6 of the Acts of the Apostles records how the apostles appointed seven men to see to the needs of community members who were being overlooked. This is the essence of the ministry of deacons: to serve those in the community who are poor and overlooked, whatever their poverty may take.
Permanent deacons were very much a feature of the early Church but the ministry fell out of use over a thousand years ago and diaconate simply became a stage on the road to ordination for priesthood.
In 1967, Pope Paul VI, on the advice of the bishops of the world, restored the order of permanent deacons. In 2000, the Irish bishops began the process of reintroducing the permanent diaconate into Ireland. Here in Kildare and Leighlin Diocese, applications were invited in 2008 and seven candidates accepted in 2009 were ordained on the 13th October 2013.
Applications were again invited in 2015, and the three candidates accepted. Vincent Crowley was ordained on the 4th October, Liam Dunne will be ordained on Saturday 12th December, and Eugene Keyes on Sunday 13th December 2020.
Permanent deacons are not substitute priests, nor are they intended to take the place of religious or of lay ministers. In regard to the liturgy and sacraments of the Church, a deacon can baptise, preside at marriages and funerals, along with assisting the priest at the celebration of the Eucharist, including proclaiming the Gospel and preaching.