Faith Matters

Irish seminarians ordained deacons having served Pope Francis at Easter Vigil

Fr George Hayes, Fr Thomas Norris, Rev Malachy Gallagher, Bishop Donal McKeown, Rev Bill O'Shaughnessy, Fr Hugh Clifford, Mons Ciarán O'Carroll

Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown has ordained two students of the Pontifical Irish College in Rome, as deacons for service in the Diocese of Derry and Archdiocese of Dublin.

The seminarians had served Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil in Saint Peter's Basilica.

Reverend Malachy Gallagher (32) from Coleraine, Co Derry, and Reverend Bill O'Shaughnessy (28) from Castledermot, Co Kildare, were joined for the celebration by their fellow seminarians from the Pontifical Irish College as well as family and friends who travelled from Ireland to the ordination.

The ceremony took place on Easter Tuesday, in the beautiful Roman basilica dedicated to St Mark in the year 336AD, steps away from Piazza Venezia, in the heart of Rome.

In his homily during the Mass, Bishop McKeown encouraged the deacons "not to be afraid to accompany their contemporaries on their journeys. Have a divine patience and love for those to whom you will be sent to proclaim the Resurrection. Learn how to speak of the hope that is in Jesus Christ".

"I encourage you to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches, and especially to the churches of Dublin and Derry," Bishop McKeown said.

"The uncomfortable word of God that calls us to repent has to be heard by us before we can ask others to repent and be baptised. The temptation for Church in modern Ireland is to retreat behind ramparts of self-righteousness and fear. That is where many would like us to be, roaring from behind the walls but talking only to ourselves. The Irish Church is being renewed, not so much to fit in with contemporary culture, as to stand out from it."

Following the uplifting ceremony, the Rector of the Pontifical Irish College, Monsignor CiarĂ¡n O'Carroll said: "It is with great joy that we celebrate the ordination to the diaconate of two of our seminarians.

"On behalf of everyone in the college I warmly congratulate Bill and Malachy on their ordination. I wish them every happiness and blessing as they commence their diaconal ministries of service and charity, of leadership in prayer and liturgy, and of witness and proclamation of the Gospel message, during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy."

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