Father-of-two ordained a deacon in Enniskillen
Family and friends of a Co Fermanagh father-of-two came together in Enniskillen yesterday to witness him be ordained as the first permanent deacon in the Diocese of Clogher since the diaconate was re-introduced by Vatican II.
The Ordination to the Diaconate of Martin Donnelly, who is from the town, was celebrated at St Michael's Church.
Mr Donnelly's wife Caitlín, their children Ciara and Brian and their spouses Cathal and Ruth, together with his mother, Nan were present at the Mass and participated in the liturgy.
Current chair of the Parish Pastoral Council, following his ordination as a deacon, Mr Donnelly's ministry will include serving at the altar during Mass, bringing the eucharist to the sick at home and in hospital, presiding at the exposition of the blessed sacrament and benediction, celebrating baptisms and marriages and preside at funeral rites such as reception and burial.
Yesterday's Mass was celebrated by Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian.
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Also present were a number of deacons from different dioceses across Northern Ireland including those who participated with Mr Donnelly in his formation programme in the Diocese of Down and Connor.
Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, John McDowell and the Dean of Clogher, Rev Kenneth Hall were also present.
Bishop McGuckian said the event marked a "brand-new beginning in the life of Martin, Caitlín and their family, in the life of this parish and this diocese."
"We are at a time of new beginnings in the Catholic Church in Ireland," he said.
"Permanent deacons are new to us in Ireland and the question that arises about them is: what can a deacon do? A deacon can preside at all of the liturgies of the Church outside of mass, perform baptisms, witness marriages, preside at funeral and burial services. Most importantly in all of that he has the authority to preach in Christ’s name."