Homily for Admission to Candidacy
Homily for Admission to Candidacy
Bishop Kevin Doran
Sunday 24th May 2015, St Angela’s College, Sligo
Those who heard the teaching of the Apostles in Jerusalem were gathered for the Passover. They came from all over the then known world and we are told that they each heard the teaching of the Apostles in their own language. This is not just a way of saying that the Holy Spirit enabled people to come to discipleship in spite of the possible barriers associated with culture and nationality. I think it is also a way of reflecting the fact that the Church in its infancy was enriched not only by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but by the diverse gifts of nature which were brought to their discipleship by so many people.
It would probably be an exaggeration to refer to the different cultures of the counties represented by our seven aspirants who are to be admitted to candidacy today. But maybe we should not be too quick to dismiss that thought. Each of you has heard the invitation of Christ in the concrete circumstances of his own life. In the first place, that means that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, your vocation has been heard and responded to in the context of your family. I take this opportunity right away to thank your wives who, with faith in you and faith in God, have supported you in responding to the call of Christ. For some of, the discernment of God’s call has had to take their needs into account. Some of them may be young enough to be wildly excited at the possibility of their father having a public role of any kind. Some of them may have to think a bit more deeply about it.
The Church places great emphasis on the importance of marriage and the family. Indeed the Church would not be the Church in any real sense without marriage and the family. For that reason, I want to reassure you that I am clear that your vocation as husband and father must always be your first priority. Having said that, I am very conscious of the huge contribution that the permanent diaconate can make and indeed is already making in the Irish Church and I want to be clear that it is a substantial ministry with real responsibility for leadership, for witness and for service.
Those who heard the teaching of the Apostles on that first day of Pentecost went on to be the disciples of a crucified and risen saviour. Many had followed him, but few stood around the foot of his cross. They didn’t all believe in Jesus, why would you expect that they will all listen to you? You are not the Saviour of the world. Do not allow the shadow of the cross to discourage you. Believe also in the Resurrection of Jesus, in which you share through your Baptism.
Each one of you is married and so I imagine each one of you was, at some stage or another, engaged. Those engagements may have been long or short, formal or informal, but I imagine the one thing they had in common was that they marked an important moment of transition in your relationship. You were no longer just going out together, you had made a commitment to pursue the relationship single-mindedly and to prepare together for marriage. You had made a proposal and it had been accepted.
I have always understood the Admission to Candidacy as being quite like an engagement. You have been through an extended period of exploration and discernment. You have made your proposal to the diocese and your Bishop, in the name of the diocesan community has accepted you. This liturgical celebration is a prayerful expression of confidence in you and in the Holy Spirit who is in you. Those responsible for your formation have recognised in you the gifts of the Holy Spirit; gifts such Wisdom, Courage and Reverence. They have seen the fruits of those gifts; fruits such as love and kindness, trustfulness and self-control.
Against that background, I am happy today to welcome you formally as candidates for the permanent diaconate. I thank you for the generosity of your commitment and I encourage you to continue with confidence the journey which you have begun, preparing within the community of your parish and of your family, for the ministry which, please God, will be entrusted to you in God’s own time.
Those to be admitted as Candidates are
- Tim Nichols and his wife Kathy (Achonry)
- Kevin Flynn and his wife Geraldine (Achonry)
- Martin Lynch and his wife Anne (Achonry)
- Padraic Kelly and his wife Annette (Kilmore)
- Tony Larkin and his wife Jean (Elphin)
- Johnny Watters and his wife Anna Marie (Elphin)
- Martin Reidy and his wife Ann (Elphin)