It was with great joy that Archbishop Bernard celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the first ordinations to the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese of Birmingham twenty five years ago in 1989.
This Mass is now firmly established as an annual opportunity to celebrate the work that deacons do in the diocese and the importance of their families to their mission and witness to the faith.
He reminded the congregation, made up of deacons from across the diocese, their families, priests, deacons’ widows and appreciative parishioners of the momentous step that was taken by those men following in the footsteps of the first deacons of the Church ordained by the apostles after Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville instigated the reintroduction of the diaconate after a long period of rest in this part of the world.
Deacon David Child, one of those original deacons of the Archdiocese, had the humbling privilege to proclaim the gospel which was followed by His Grace’s comments about the importance of the diaconate to the mission of the Church, the demonstration of witness to Christ and to the Ordained ministry by deacons in the last quarter century and the opportunities that exist for deacons in the future.
His Grace was accompanied by all four auxiliary bishops of the diocese and the Vicar General which was a great witness to the commitment that this diocese has to the diaconate in the ordained ministry of the Church.
This Mass saw His Grace bless and present to all of the deacons the new stole made in the Holy Land that will be used for diocesan Masses. This is the first time that deacons have a diocesan vestment and is another sign of the diaconate establishing itself as part of the structure of our diocese.