Candidates for the Permanent Diaconate Receive Acolyte during a Successful Summer School

Over two extended weekends, from the first until the tenth of June last, candidates for the Permanent Diaconate, their wives and families took part in the 2011/12 Summer School at St Angela’s College as part of their formation programme.

The patristic scholar, Dr John Cunningham OP, opened the school with an interesting series of lectures on the first seven years of Christian writings. He focused in particular on the evolution of the Permanent Diaconate in the early Church. Mr Albert Gildea, Director of the Centre for New Evangelisation, Europe, travelled from Malta to deliver a thought provoking two day seminar on the topic of New Evangelisation. Mr Anthony Brennan, Human Resource Manager with City Jet, Ltd., led participants through a very enjoyable day long interactive input on personal discernment, leadership and group dynamics. An afternoon of pastoral reflection workshops, around the idea of reflective practice in ministry, was delivered by Rev Michael Duignan, the programme director.

There were also social times for participants and their families with a very successful Sunday trip to south Donegal. On the bank holiday Monday, the group went on a day trip to Dublin. There participants visited the Biblical Manuscripts at the Chester Beatty Library, Christ Church Cathedral, and had a wonderful tour of Trinity College and the Book of Kells. They were guided by one of the candidates and past student of the College - Mr David Muldowney. That evening all were delighted to join Archbishop Martin, the clergy and people of the Archdiocese of Dublin, for the historic ordination of eight permanent deacons at the pro-cathedral - the first such ordination in the history of the Archdiocese. It was a special occasion since four years ago the candidates from Elphin had begun their initial year of training with these now newly ordained Permanent Deacons from Dublin.

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The highlight of the Summer School however, was the public conferring of the Ministry of Acolyte by Bishop Jones, on the six candidates in the Cathedral, Sligo on Saturday evening the second of June. This was preceded by a day of reflection led by Sr Moya Hegarty OSU at St Angela’s College. Acolyte is the last of the traditional ministries those journeying towards ordination receive. It confers on them special responsibilities during the celebration of the Eucharist and in assisting with the preparation of people for the reception of the Sacraments. During his homily, Bishop Jones thanked the candidates, their wives and families for their generosity in responding to God’s call to the Permanent Diaconate and wished them well in their final months of preparation before ordination. Bishop Jones also asked those present to keep them in their prayers at this important time for them and their families.

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