Saturday 13th June, the Feast of St Anthony of Padua, saw the ordination of five men to the diaconate by Bishop John Sherrington. Christian de Lisle, Damian Ryan, Tony Thomas and Chinedu Udo were ordained for Westminster Diocese, while Daniel Palmer was ordained for Nottingham Diocese. The ordination Mass was concelebrated by priests from both dioceses.
During the homily, Bishop John reminded the men they were 'called to offer people a message of hope and the promise of God’s steadfast love,' inviting them 'to recognise and accept the mercy of God' and 'allow themselves to be drawn into his friendship'.
He reminded the men that as they 'proclaim the gospel, so you are called to be a messenger of joy'.
'This joy,' he continued, 'is to borne in your faces because joy is attractive and infectious and will make people think about how you find meaning in your lives.'
Whilst the men prepare for priestly ordinations next year, Bishop John told them that their ministry as deacons 'will always be a reminder that you are always a deacon and so called to service and to stay close to the chalice of suffering in the lives of your people.'
During the Rite of Ordination, the men were reminded of the commitment they are assuming when Bishop John spoke these words: 'By your life and character you will give witness to your brothers and sisters in faith that God must be loved above all else, and that it is he whom you serve in others.'
The men will continue their formation at Allen Hall towards ordination to the priesthood.
The full text of Bishop John's homily can be read here.
Photos from the ordination can be found here.