A Clonmel father is one of six married men to be ordained as a permanent deacon at a ceremony on Sunday.
The ordinations will take place in Saint Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh for the Diocese of Cloyne.
Among the six is Brian Williams, (43), originally from Clonmel, who is at present moving to the parish of Macroom, Co Cork with his wife Sharon and two daughters aged nine and five.
Brian has been the Director of Cloyne Diocesan Youth and Community services for the past ten years.
Brian’s hopes for his ministry as a deacon: “I hope that as a deacon I might be able to reach out to and connect with people who are feeling isolated in our communities.”
The vocation of a deacon in the Church is a specific one. Different to priesthood, it is, however, a participation in the sacrament of Holy Orders.
Deacons “…receive the imposition of hands ‘not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1569).
Their ministry is a threefold ministry of service to the Word of God, to the Altar and to Charity, especially to the service of the poor.
This latter pastoral aspect enriches the deacon’s ministry of the Word and in the Liturgy and vice versa. Deacons have a special relationship of service with their bishop and to the People of God.
Ahead of Sunday’s ordinations, Bishop William Crean said - “The Diocese of Cloyne warmly welcomes the ordination of our new six deacons on Sunday. It is encouraging that we will have our first permanent deacons ordained for the diocese.
"Although this takes place in the context of falling numbers of priests, it would not be correct to see the diaconate simply as a replacement for the priesthood. The fullness of the Church’s ministry is seen in the co-operation of bishops, priests and deacons with the people of God in a co-responsibility which includes a variety of gifts and a variety of roles.
"Deacons hold a special ministry within our Church which is to complement, but not to replace, the contribution of our priests or that of the ministry of lay people who serve the community of the Church in an increasing number of ways.
"Deacons are called to assist and encourage both priests and the lay faithful. At this time I ask the faithful to keep our deacons and priests in their prayers and may God bless them in their ministry.”