On the eve of Gaudate Sunday, one of the most joyous days in the liturgical calendar, five married men of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains joyfully celebrated the beginning of the newest chapter of their lives.
Charles Abela, David Dowling, Jerome D’Rozario, Batsirai Maringehosi and Alan Skofic were ordained to the permanent diaconate of the Diocese of Parramatta in front of family, friends and Catholic communities from near, far and abroad by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, on Saturday 10 December.
“Today, we have a great reason to rejoice the diaconal ordination of these candidates,” Bishop Vincent said during his opening comments.
“On behalf of the concelebrating clergy, I welcome their families, their loved ones, their communities, who have supported them and formed a formative community in which they grew and became the people, the Christians they are today.
“We assist them with our prayers as they accept this important step, and we commend them to God who guides them as they serve as leaders in imitation of the One who came to serve and give His life as a ransom for others.”
Bishop Vincent: Church is “reinvigorated” by ordinations
During his Homily, Bishop Vincent explained that during the Second Vatican Council, the diaconate was “no longer under the shadow of the priesthood,” and described deacons as “active” ministers, not just “‘flower pots’ on the sanctuary.”
In referring to the 2022 National Deacons Conference, which the diaconate in the Diocese of Parramatta hosted, Bishop Vincent said that it provided the opportunity to show “the rest of the country how this ministry could transform individuals, communities and the Church as a whole.”
He added, “we need the ministry of diaconate that is modelled on Christ the humble servant. As Pope Paul VI declared, the diaconate is the driving force for the Church’s own diakonia.
“I would add also that the diaconate, with its characteristic embodiment of the Church in its fundamental expressions of service, mutuality and immersion in secularity, has a potential to reset the ordained ministry towards a better future.”
In addressing the ordinands, Bishop Vincent said that their ordination brings “joy, hope and renewal” and prayed that the Blessed Virgin accompany them in her example of humble discipleship.
“The Church, here and beyond, is rejuvenated by your energy, reinvigorated by your commitment and enriched by your gifts. Your fellow clergy and God’s people are strengthened by your companionship.
Deacon Jerome thanks all those involved in “great moment”
In his Note of Gratitude on behalf of the newly ordained deacons, Deacon Jerome thanked those present for the “incredible, great moment” of their ordination, and requested they continue to pray for them as they begin their journey.
Included in his thanks were the wives of the deacons, whose support is vital to their husbands’ ministry, as well as Bishop Vincent, the deacon formation team, and fellow parishioners, many of whom were there to support the new deacons.
“To the inspiring faith communities that have inspired us, we are proudly grateful that you are part of our journey,” said Deacon Jerome.
“The role of deacon is service, and as we promise to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the service of God’s holy Church, we ask you all to pray for our families and us.
“May God grant us the strength to serve Him faithfully and worthily.”
In his concluding comments, Bishop Vincent added his own words of thanks to the spouses of the newly ordained deacons.
“The road ahead for these deacons will largely be determined by the partnership and support of their spouses, so I want to thank you for your generosity in supporting your husbands on this journey,” he said.
“These deacons are a sign to us that God is with us, and they model for us a way of service that enriches the ordained ministry as a whole and also enriches the People of God.”
The new deacons will serve in their current parishes until their new appointments in 2023.
Rewatch the Mass of Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate here.
View images from the Mass of Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate here or below: