The Catholic community of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains has been blessed with two new ordained deacons, signalling the resurgence of this important ministry in the Diocese of Parramatta.
Dr John Collins and Dr Michael Tan were ordained to the ministry by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, in a joyful ceremony on the Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 11 June, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.
Deacon Michael will serve the parish community of St Madeleine Sophie Barat Parish, Kenthurst, having spent his formation at St Patrick’s Parish, Guildford. Deacon John will continue to serve at Christ the King Parish, North Rocks.
As ordained deacons, they can preside over public prayer, celebrate baptisms, bless marriages, give viaticum to the dying and lead the rites of burial amongst other good works in the name of Bishop Vincent.
“We commend these men to Almighty God that they may be God’s instruments of love, mercy and compassion for humanity,” Bishop Vincent said in his opening address at the Mass.
They were supported by their brotherhood of deacons. Clergy from the Diocese of Parramatta and other parishes in Sydney concelebrated the Mass. Family and friends of both deacons filled the Cathedral pews, with many more tuning in to the Cathedral’s livestream from Victoria and overseas.
Ordination to manifest Christ through ministry
In his homily, Bishop Vincent explained “God had worked in mysterious ways” to bring both deacons to the diaconate, and that their call to vocation will greatly enrich the life of the local church. He reminded them their ministry of service will “manifest the person, life and ministry of Christ.”
Diaconate a shared ministry with your wives
Deacons need the support of their wives in order to successfully undertake their ministry. Bishop Vincent acknowledged Dr Sandra Carroll and Annette Tan, who will undertake this ministry alongside their husbands.
He told Deacon John, “Both you and your wife have a wealth of skills and talents to contribute as you grow together in a new and shared ministry,” while also assuring Deacon Michael he is sure he will flourish in this ministry with the support of his wife.
“We pray that together with your spouse, you will channel the grace of God,” he told them.
Deacons thank ‘Body of Christ’ for their accompaniment
The Deacons thanked Bishop Vincent, their wives, those who had accompanied them to this point, their fellow aspirants on the diaconal journey and those who have assisted them in the formation of their wives.
“We also thank those who have been present with us on this night. Your presence has given shape and form to the theological concept we name as The Body of Christ,” Deacon John said.
Deacon Michael reflected on the grace of his ordination.
“We are entering into ordinary time. it means that we celebrate the mysteries of our faith in ordinary ways,” he said.
“We are still called to live lives of faith, hope and love in the ordinary circumstances of our lives – whether at home, work, in our communities.
“Celebrating my ordination on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart – Jesus, true God and true Man, invites us to meditate on his Sacred Heart – the true heart of God, just as it is the true heart of a man, Jesus.”
Watch the Rite of Ordination to the Diaconate here.
View images from the Rite of Ordination to the Diaconate here or below.