IT was a historic day for the Diocese of Cork and Ross on Sunday as two new deacons are to be ordained at the North Cathedral.
Rev David Lane, who works as the manager of HSE addiction services in Cork and Kerry, and Rev Frank McKevitt, an accountant working in the city centre were ordained permanent deacons at the Cathedral.
The role was restored in Ireland in 2001 and has seen some 53 people ordained. A further 70 are in formation, with 22 of these ready for ordination this Autumn.
David and Frank are the first for Cork and Ross with another group set to begin the process in September 2018.
David, a father of three who is well known for his work with the HSE in Cork, studied for his certificate in theology in 2005 and enjoyed the experience so much that he entered the formation for deaconship afterwards.
Frank moved to Cork at the age of 11, studying at Coláiste Chríost Rí in Turner's Cross. He is active in scouting in Cork, involved in the Lough Parish Unit, and is a founding member of the Turner's Cross Parish Pastoral Assembly.
The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, welcomed the news of the diocese's two new permanent deacons.
Bishop Buckley said that the deacons are not intended to replace lay people but to play a key role in developing and coordinating the work of lay people in the parish.
"The word 'deacon' comes from the Greek word service and goes back to apostolic times," he said.
"The Acts of the Apostles describes how, in the first century, the church was faced with the challenge of responding to those who were at risk of being marginalised. The apostles selected and ordained a number of men specifically for this service."
"With the passage of time, the diaconate evolved into a transitional ministry for those to be ordained priests. It continued to exist, however, as a permanent ministry in eastern churches including those in full communion with Rome.
The Bishop added that the role of ordained priest "must continue to be fostered because, without the priest, there is no Eucharist or church."
The diaconate is open to married and single men. There is an age limit of 63 for applicants with interested parties asked to contact a priest or the Diocesan Director of the Permanent Diaconate, Canon Bertie O’Mahony, PP Ballineaspaig. Tel: 021- 434 6940.