On Saturday, 23rd June, Cardinal Vincent ordained Alex Burke, Kingsley Izundu and Colin Macken to the permanent diaconate at Westminster Cathedral.
Reflecting on the role of deacons since the earlest days of the Church, the Cardinal said that, through ordination, these men were 'set apart' for the work of God so that 'they can indeed be salt, mixed into the fabric of life, and light, positioned so that they can cast light on many darkened situations'.
He explained that this earliest partnership between Apostles and deacons has 'developed into the particular roles of deacon, priest and bishop as we know them today'.
The charism of service which characterises deacons 'is at the basis of the entire sacrament' of Holy Orders: 'A priest always remains a deacon, a man of service. Today I wear a dalmatic, for the bishop does not cease to be a deacon,' noted the Cardinal.
He added: 'The deacon, then is to foster the work of service in the Church, cultivating a spirituality of service, enabling that service to flow more freely through the entire body of the Chuch.' This service has 'a primary and deliberate focus on the poor'.
It is also a call to service at the altar, 'because our service of the poor, our service of one another, finds its source and shape precisely in the Eucharist, celebrated at the altar'.
'The altar holds the key to a full understanding of the ministry of the deacon: the ministry of service, always rooted in Christ, always flowing from his all-powerful gifts, always reaching out to those most in need.'
Present at the ordinations were the wives and families, who participated in the ceremony by presenting the dalmatics with which the newly-ordained deacons are clothed and by bringing forward the gifts of bread and wine during the offertory. At the end of Mass, the Cardinal invited the newly-ordained deacons and their wives to receive a special blessing.
Rev Alex Burke is serving as deacon at St Benedict, Ealing. Rev Kingsley Izundu is serving as deacon at St Scholastica, Clapton. Rev Colin Macken is serving as deacon at St Lawrence, Feltham. Please keep the men, their families and all whom they serve in your prayers.
The full text of the Cardinal's homily is available here.
Photo: Fr John Scott/Westminster Cathedral