The Catholic Church’s Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has ordained three more permanent deacons – two of them married men.
Jimmy Fennell, Michael Giblin and Derek Leonard were ordained in a ceremony at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in the city as the church looks to rejuvenate the ministry.
Website TheJournal.ie reports that this is the second such ceremony to take place in just over a year after the church in Ireland went without deacons for centuries.
The report says the men will be allowed to assist priests in the Eucharist, celebrate Baptism and marriage and preside at funerals.
They will also be expected to facilitate visiting the sick, prisoners and the bereaved and promote awareness of the social teaching of the church but they cannot say Mass or hear confessions.
Catholic deacons must undergo four years of preparation to be ordained. This includes academic study, spiritual, human and pastoral formation.
Candidates may be married or single but there are certain restrictions on both categories.
The report says a married man must be at least 35 years of age and a single man at least 25 years of age to be considered.
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’.
Both Giblin and Leonard are married with children.
In his homily at the ordination, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said: “The call to take up the cross is not a negative call to self-annihilation, to a masochistic hatred of self or a disregard for self. Yet neither is it pure metaphor.
“Taking up the cross means that we fight continuously against that egoism and self-justification which constantly threatens us, a temptation to think of myself as the measure of reality and relationships, rather than allowing myself to be freed to serve others and to generate thoughts not of self-importance but thoughts words and action which foster a spirit of genuine care and love for others, as Jesus revealed God through his self-giving love.”