John Garvey, Dirk Hermans and Dominic Kerr were ordained by the Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, at St Chad’s Cathedral last weekend. The celebration was live streamed.
The word deacon derives from the Greek diakonia, meaning “service,” thereby indicating that a deacon is called, like Christ, to be a servant. The Order of Deacons has three essential functions: the proclamation of the Gospel, the service of the liturgy, and the administration of charitable works.
The celebration of the Sacrament of Ordination of a Deacon is similar in form to that of a priest – by prayer and the laying on of hands, as described from the earliest days of the Church – but the beautiful Prayer of Consecration emphasises the essential nature of the diaconate, a call to service.
In his Homily Archbishop Longley said: “Dear friends, we are celebrating the ordination of Dominic Kerr, Dirk Hermans and John Garvey in highly unusual circumstances and having to observe the current restrictions on gathering together for the health and wellbeing of one another. At such a time, when we are surrounded by so much uncertainty and concern because of the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that Dominic, Dirk and John are ready to dedicate their lives to serve the needs of others as deacons is a sure sign of God’s loving presence and provident care in our midst.
“Today’s ordination also brings a particular joy into our diocesan life and this joy is shared by your wives Frances, Marleen and Joanna and by your children together with your all family and friends, and especially by fellow clergy and the parish communities that you are called to serve in a new way from today.
“In the sacrament which we are celebrating we see our Lord’s own ministry of service through the power of the Holy Spirit now beginning to bear fruit sacramentally in your lives with a new focus and purpose. In your relationship with our Lord your eyes are now re-focussing so that you can see those he wants you to serve as deacons. The grace you receive today is already a fulfilment of your life’s calling – something you have been discerning over many years.”
Picture: The Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, with the new deacons. (Con McHugh).