Archbishop Bernard Longley has ordained two new Deacons: Tim Anthony and Keith Millage, at a Mass at St Chad’s. Welcoming them to the Diaconate, the Archbishop outlined their mission: “Through sacramental ordination your lives are radically changed because they are now conformed to the life of Christ who came not to be served but to serve.” Keith Millage is based in Christ the King parish, Coventry and Tim Anthony is in Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Yardley Wood.
A Permanent Deacon is a man ordained to serve the Church in a three-fold ministry:
The Ministry of Charity: He is particularly called to serve the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalised. He may co-ordinate his parish’s response to their needs, fostering and supporting parish groups and initiatives for those most in need. He has a special care for matters of social justice.
The Ministry of the Word: He proclaims the Gospel and sometimes preaches at Mass as well as presiding and preaching at funeral and burial services. He baptises and officiates at weddings; he leads the people in prayer and plays a leading role in the teaching and catechetical life of his parish community.
The Ministry of the Altar: He offers service at the altar of the Mass, assisting the Bishop or Priest. He distributes Holy Communion at Mass, in hospital and in the homes of the sick, the housebound and the dying. He may coordinate the Eucharistic ministers and Communion visits within the parish.
Archbishop Longley said the Ordination was about trust, because the two new Deacons were ready to trust the calling they have received from God by making a solemn and binding commitment in return. He said he was grateful that both Keith and Tim are supported by their wives Janette and Katy in this act of trusting commitment: “They have once already committed their lives in trust in the Sacrament of Marriage and this will be a great source of encouragement and strength to them as they exercise their ordained ministry within the Church. Keith and Tim both know what it means to make vows before God and to bind themselves sacramentally in a bond that is loving, truly liberating and fruitful.”
The Archbishop told the new Deacons that the Church was entrusting them with a duty of care: “You will exercise a care for the material and spiritual well-being of all those you serve. As Deacons these are not simply tasks that you undertake, as they could be undertaken by any disciple, but they are now the currency of your daily lives. In the liturgy you will nourish the faithful by your preaching of the Word of God and as you minister the Sacraments to them. In your pastoral visiting you will bring joy to the sick and housebound, encourage families to be the presence of the Church in the world, and support young people as they seek to deepen their love for Jesus Christ. The Church wants you to be ambassadors, making the values of the Gospel a reality wherever your professional or social life my take you beyond the confines of the parish community.
As you collaborate with your Parish Priests you can witness to and strengthen the unity of the Church both locally and across the Archdiocese. You will also reflect the readiness of the Lord to serve people as and when they are most in need. “