Historic ceremony as Clonmel man appointed first permanent deacon in the diocese

Dr. Lazarus Gidoff is ordained a permanent deacon by Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan, in St Oliver's Church, Clonmel on Sunday.
Clonmel man Dr. Lazarus Gidoff is the first ever permanent deacon to be ordained for ministry in the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore. He was ordained by Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan in St. Oliver’s Church on Sunday last.

Clonmel man Dr. Lazarus Gidoff is the first ever permanent deacon to be ordained for ministry in the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore. He was ordained by Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan in St. Oliver’s Church on Sunday last.

Rev. Lazarus is married to Seena and they have three children, Romald, Serena and Tracy. He is a native of Kerala in India and is employed as a psychiatric social worker in the HSE, based in Clonmel.

His ordination marks the culmination of a journey began over four years ago when he was accepted by Bishop Lee to embark on a propaedeutic year during which he was accompanied in a process to discern if indeed the Lord was calling him to the orders in the Church.

He was then accepted in a formation programme comprising three years study in theology and scripture. The course was based in St. Patrick’s College, Thurles and directed by Dr. Diane Corkery. Fr. Pat Fitzgerald is the local coordinator for the diaconate programme. During his formation, he was required to complete a supervised pastoral placement in his parish.

Speaking at his ordination, Rev. Lazarus said that he always felt a call to priesthood but because of circumstances in his life, he was never able to answer the calling. He said he was delighted to be able to serve now as a deacon in the Church and is looking forward to beginning his ministry.

His wife Seena is very supportive of his decision to request orders and feels that he will enrich the local church is his ministry of diakonia, which literally means service.

He brings many gifts to his ministry. He is highly educated, having a received a doctorate in ethics from the University of Kerala. He also has Masters Degrees in Social Science, Business and Management.

The ministry of deacon flourished in the early Church. It was closely associated with the office of bishop, as the deacon assisted the bishop at the Eucharist, preaching the gospel and bringing communion to the housebound; the deacon also exercised a ministry of charity which highlighted the fact that ordering the baptismal priesthood would not be adequately expressed without an explicit reaching out to those in need and to struggle for justice and peace in the world.

Lazurus will now be empowered to preach the homily at Mass, to celebrate baptism and marriage, to officiate at funeral services and burials, to bring Viaticum to the sick, to lead ministry groups in the parish and to give expression to his liturgical role by serving the poor and needy in various ways and being an advocate for justice.

He awaits to be formally appointed by Bishop Cullinan.