On Wednesday 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Bishop Larry Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, ordained Paul Flynn as a Deacon of the Diocese of Clogher. The Rite of Ordination took place during a beautiful Eucharistic liturgy in St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen. This followed the completion by Deacon Paul of four years of discernment and formation. His wife Angela, their four children and other members of their family were present to participate in the liturgy. Also present were other Deacons, including Deacon Martin Donnelly from Enniskillen, as well as many of the priests Clogher diocese and from further afield. In the sanctuary was Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Bishop-Emeritus of Kilmore who celebrated the Silver Jubilee (25 years) of his Episcopal Ordination on that day. Other guests included the Church of Ireland Dean of Clogher, Very Rev Kenneth Hall and Canon Paul Arbuthnot from the Parishes of Cobh and Glanmire in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross – who acted as Cantor for the Litany of the Saints. Bishop Duffy was assisted in the sanctuary by Monsignor Peter O’Reilly PP VG, Enniskillen and Mgr Shane McCaughey PP VG, Carrickmacross. The combined voices of St Michael’s Parish Choirs were directed by Sharon Kelly and the organists were Caecilia Bastian, Jonathan Beaty and Simon Harden from Christ Church Cathedral in Waterford. The Ministers of the Word were Marie McKenna and Peter Howard, while Deacon Paul was vested by his wife Angie and his father Dermot. The Master of Ceremonies was Fr Raymond Donnelly CC, Enniskillen.
Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy
The following is the text of the homily by Bishop Duffy:
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. It challenges us to encounter Christ through our daily lives, in prayer and action.
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.
O Mother, today you heard old Simeon say to you,
‘A sword will pierce your own soul too,
so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare’.
The reality of the Cross was always before you.
Mother of Sorrows, with strength from above you stood by the cross,
sharing in the sufferings of Jesus,
and with tender care you bore him lifeless in your arms, mourning and weeping.
We praise you for your faith, which accepted the life God planned for you.
We praise you for your hope, which trusted that God would do great things in you.
We praise you for your love, in bearing with Jesus the sorrows of his Passion.
Holy Mary, in my ministry may I follow your example
and stand by all your children who need comfort and love.
Mother of God, stand by each of us in our trials and care for us in our many needs.
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.