Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin presided over the ordination of eight married deacons in a ceremony in Dublin on Monday.
Although permanent deacons minister to the faithful in other European countries, it's the first group to be ordained to the diaconate in Ireland.
According to Journal.ie, the ceremony took place in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral and lasted almost two hours.
Archbishop Martin told the gathering it was a 'historic day' adding that ordination of the eight men restored the ancient order of permanent deacons.
The Dublin Diocese told the press that deacons are not 'lone rangers' but instead will join priests and lay parish pastoral workers in their duties in the parishes.
Archbishop Martin said that, since they have not been a common feature of Irish life, many would ask what deacons actually are. He said that deacons were sometimes looked on as a sort of second-class ministry, but this was not correct and that the ordinations were a call to service he said.
Martin explained that deacons must undergo four years of preparation before they are ordained, and their preparation includes academic study with a focus on their spiritual, human and pastoral formation.
Deacons can assist a priest at the celebration of the Eucharist, or of Baptism or marriage and they can preside at funerals. Candidates seeking to become deacons may be married or single.
The Dublin Diocese clarified that a married man must be married for at least five years and live in a 'stable and valid marriage' and enjoy the 'full support' of his wife. A single man is required to have a 'stable, settled life, a history of healthy relationships and be able and willing to accept celibacy.'
Deacons are permitted to visit the sick, prisoners and the bereaved. They cannot say Mass or hear confessions, however.