26/6/13 Three men ordained to permanent diaconate

26/6/13 Three men ordained to permanent diaconate

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Three men will be ordained as Permanent Deacons in St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin this evening (June 23rd)

Jimmy Fennell, Michael Giblin and Derek Leonard make up the second group of men to be ordained in Dublin to this revived ministry in the Irish Church. Last year, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin ordained eight men to the permanent diaconate, for the first time in centuries.

The areas of ministry entrusted to Permanent deacons fall under three general headings, Altar, Word and Charity.  Deacons can assist the priest at the celebration of the Eucharist; they can celebrate Baptism and Marriage and preside at funerals. They also facilitate visiting the sick, prisoners and the bereaved and promoting awareness of the social teaching of the church.

In partnership with priests and parish pastoral workers, their role includes supporting the structures, which allow for the wider participation of the lay faithful in a range of ministries in the parish and in the wider community.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin ordained the three men in St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral this evening.  He said the call to the diaconate today is a call to be configured in a special way to Jesus who serves and to represent in a special way in the life of the Church Jesus who serves. In his homily, the Archbishop said, “Your configuration to Jesus who serves must from today onwards become part of your identity, something you must fully integrate into the way you live.   All ministry in the Church is service. It must reach out.  Whenever ministry looses the characteristic of service and reaching out then it degenerates into the opposite to ministry, to self-indulgence and self-promotion.”

In the Archdiocese of Dublin, there are now 436 priests with appointments; many retired priests also continue to assist in parish duties. There are 31 parish pastoral workers holding Diocesan appointments (21 women and 10 men). The role of the parish pastoral worker is to work with priests and communities in developing an understanding of faith and to support and develop parish initiatives around prayer and the sacraments. From today, there are 11 permanent deacons in Dublin. Another three candidates for the permanent diaconate are engaged in the formation process and a further eight are due to begin formation this September. The Catholic population of the Archdiocese of Dublin is 1.2million.

The permanent diaconate is a voluntary part-time ministry, for married or single men, however if deacons have taken early retirement or reduced their work commitments they may be able to offer a greater time commitment.

  •  Jimmy Fennell is a parishioner of St. Agnes Parish, Crumlin who runs man who runs his own electrical repair business. He has been actively involved in the Brú Youth Service in Crumlin and spent many years as an officer in the Naval Reserve


  • Michael Giblin, from Knocklyon, is married to Eileen. They have three children.  He is an IT Manager and has been actively involved for many years in St. Colmcille’s Parish, serving among other things as Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council.


  • Derek Leonard is a parishioner of St. Mochta’s Parish, Porterstown, where he lives with his wife Orla and their son and daughter. A businessperson, Derek has been involved in the parish faith-friends programme, helping children to prepare for Confirmation.



All three have completed three years of formation, including third-level studies in theology and life-long learning at Mater Dei Institute. They have also participated  in a series of residential weekends which focussed on the development of pastoral skills, and personal and spiritual growth.