Ordination to Diaconate
Basilica of St Mark
Easter Monday, 9 April 2012
Fellow priests and dear friends,
When the three disciples went up the mountain with the Lord and saw him transfigured, they exclaimed, “It is good for us to be here.” I think we can echo those sentiments this morning. It is a privilege for us all to be gathered here in this historical city, which has had a central role in the history of civilisation and in the life of the Christian community since the time of its founder.
In a beautifully crafted foreword to our booklet, Fr. Ciaran O’Carroll, Rector of thePontificalIrishCollegeinRome, has welcomed us here and we have all felt and appreciated the warmth of that welcome. We say thank you to him, to Fr. Albert McDonnell, Vice-Rector, to Fr. Chris Hayden, Spiritual Director and Fr. Billy Swan, Director of Formation. TheIrishChurchhas entrusted the care of these three young men and others to your hands. We do not feel it an exaggeration to say that their progress, under the guidance of God’s grace, is an advertisement for the quality of help and direction which they received.
Most of you here present are family, friends and mentors of the three ordinands. I congratulate and compliment above all others the parents. You have had the central role in witnessing to the love of God in bringing up your children. You have clearly been for them a living inspiration in how they chose to use the life God gave them through you. Family members, friends and mentors, you bring to St. Mark’s Basilica today your own experiences and memories of your relationship and friendship. Your thoughts and prayers will bring a special significance to this ordination.
Today is above all a defining one in the lives of Raymond, Micheál, and Paul. You have made a courageous decision to offer your lives in selfless service to the people of God. In so doing, you have God’s own pledge of support and you have the love and encouragement of all present, as well as of many others who could not be here. You have tested your calling and now decision time has arrived. After much thought, prayer and advice you have decided to accept the demands of this life of service in a spirit of self-denial, for the sake of what can be given and received. It is with an overflowing sense of affection and encouragement that we ask God to bless your lives and ministry. We are aware of what you are undertaking in becoming official ministers of the Church and in entering the last stage of preparation for priesthood. May God pour out his Spirit on you, may you be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, and in loving others as Christ loved you may your life and ministry bear much fruit. Amen.
+Liam S. MacDaid
Bishop of Clogher
9 April 2012