New married deacons warned against becoming 'holy huddle'
Six new deacons who were ordained at the weekend have been urged not to become a "holy huddle" but to bring light and hope to their communities.
The six men, who are all married, were ordained by Bishop of Cloyne Dr William Crean at Cobh Cathedral yesterday. During the ceremony their wives helped dress their husbands in their robes and stoles.
They included Garrett Cody (52), a HSE manager from Garryvoe, Peter Gurbal (44), a grocery sales assistant originally from Slovakia but now living in Cobh, Damian McCabe (40), an accountant living in Whitegate, Edward Mulhare (50), a cabinet-maker from Castlemartyr, John Nestor (47), a social care worker also from Castlemartyr, and Brian Williams (43), director of Cloyne Diocesan Youth and Community Services from Macroom.
Bishop Crean told the six men they must resist becoming "a holy huddle" and instead should "plough their new furrow" by serving the lonely and the sick, giving them light and hope.
Acknowledging the falling numbers of priests, Dr Crean stressed the ministry of the deacon is distinct, but it is not a replacement for the priesthood. Deacons cannot celebrate Mass or hear confessions.
"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," he said.
He also told the new ministers that to live their ministry in Ireland today with deep faith, courage and perseverance and that they would be "naïve not to expect to encounter apathy even to the point of hostility".
Fr Bill Bermingham, director of the permanent diaconate, said the day was "a new beginning" for Cloyne.