The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, is pleased to announce the appointment of Deacon Anthony Clark to the position of Director of the Permanent Diaconate. Deacon Anthony will replace Monsignor Martin Hayes in the role who will become the new Vicar General at the beginning of Advent.
The Archbishop commended Deacon Anthony for his willingness to accept the role and praised his experience and practical wisdom. Deacon Anthony said he felt humbled but excited by the appointment: “As the Archbishop recognised, the good work carried out by all the Deacons has meant that we have come of age in our service of Christ to everyone in the Diocese of Westminster. Together with my assistant Directors, Deacons Adrian Cullen and Gordon Nunn, I pray that we play our part in the development of the diaconate to serve the people of God and the world in our three ministries of the Word, the Altar and Charity.”
The order of the Permanent Diaconate, one of the three orders of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, along with Priesthood and Episcopacy, was re-established by the Second Vatican Council. Bishops were invited to inaugurate it in their dioceses. Bishops did so in most dioceses in England and Wales in the following years though Cardinal Hume held back concerned that Deacons might inhibit the initiatives of the laity. Cardinal Cormac initiated the introduction of the Diaconate in Westminster appointing Canon Pat Browne as the first Director of the Permanent Diaconate in Westminster. Since his appointment, the number of ordained deacons has grown to 17. He was succeeded as Director by Father Stephen Bartlett and more recently by Monsignor Martin Hayes after Father Stephen’s death in 2012. The Archbishop has judged that it is a sign of the good work that has been done that it is right that a Deacon takes the role of Director.