On 14th June, two students from the Beda College in Rome, Ronald Seery and John Tabor, were ordained as deacons for service in the Diocese of Westminster by Bishop Seamus Cunningham, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, at the Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. They were among a cohort of 12 men from nine different dioceses from across the world, which included five men from England, three from Australia, two from Malaysia, one from India and one from South Africa. This reflects the international flavour of the Beda, which, while it is under the care and responsibility of the Bishops of England and Wales, welcomes students from across the English-speaking world, and sometimes beyond.
June is always a busy month at the Beda, beginning with examinations and then a few days’ relative quiet before the arrival of friends and guests for the diaconal ordinations, which themselves mark both the climax and the end of the college year. This year was no exception and the added factor of the early summer heat (it was 34C on the day itself), heightened the feeling of year’s end.
For those being ordained, the day itself can be seen as the climax of one’s time at the Beda, and certainly the solemnity and sense of new beginnings which the event occasion does lend itself to this idea. Nonetheless, the diaconate, while it does publicly mark a new beginning, should not be seen as the end; rather it is perhaps the end of the beginning. In his homily, Bishop Seamus considered the phrase ‘the Lord be with you’ in the life of a deacon. It is a call to service, just as when the Angel greeted Our Lady with these words at the Annunciation.
The Beda has a motto, taken from St Bede: Miserando atque Elegeno,‘lowly but chosen’. This phrase sums up very well what it is for each one of us, called by God in discerning a vocation to the priestly life. God has initiated the call and we, in responding to that call to the best of our ability, offer ourselves in service to the people of the diocese, from whom we have been drawn. It is an opportunity to serve them and so build up vibrant communities accompanying each other in love and charity.
Deacon Ronald will spend the next year in service at Burnt Oak Parish. Deacon John returns to Rome in October for a final year of studies at the Beda.
On 12th July, another Roman seminarian, Antonio Pineda, who is studying at the Venerable English College was also ordained to the diaconate. Deacon Antonio also returns to Rome for a final year of studies at the Venerable.
Please keep these men and all who were ordained to the diaconate and priesthood for our diocese this summer in your prayers.
Additional photos of Deacon John and Deacon Ronald’s ordination are available at the College website: www.bedacollege.com