Three more deacons have joined the ranks of the Permanent Diaconate in Glasgow. They are John Fletcher, Thomas Kelly and Thomas Thompson. Their ordination took place on 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption, at St. Mary of the Assumption Pro-Cathedral.
The weather favoured the celebration, being bright and sunny, and as the congregation gathered, the St. Mungo Singers (under their Director, Mgr. Gerry Fitzpatrick) sang a selection of appropriate anthems, including the Arcadelt Ave Maria and the Walford Davies setting of “God be in my head”.
The congregation then joined the choir in the well loved hymn “Hail Queen of Heaven” as Archbishop Conti, concelebrating priests, deacons and the soon to be ordained deacons processed in. As befitted such a joyful celebration, the Kyrie and Gloria were sung. The psalm for the day was Psalm 44 and the lovely setting by Noel Donnelly was used.
The Rite of Ordination then began with the calling and presentation of the candidates, and their election by the Archbishop. In his homily which followed, Archbishop Conti identified the theme of the feast as that of vision – seeing into the future and bringing into reality that future for the Church in God’s plan. The candidates have some sense of this already, he said, in hearing and responding to the call of God. In the first reading of the Mass from Revelation, Mary is shown as a sign and vision of the final victory, of the Kingdom already won, and she echoes that understanding in her song, the Magnificat. The description of the early Church in Acts reads like a vision of how the Kingdom should be, and the deacons belong to that vision. The diaconate has been restored as a ministry of service to the poor, physically and spiritually, an expression of love which is the life of the Kingdom.
The Ordination Rite continued, culminating in the laying on of hands by the Archbishop and the Prayer of Consecration. As the newly ordained deacons were vested in stole and dalmatic and presented with the Book of the Gospels, the choir and congregation sang a setting of the Canticle from the Ephesians “We Bless the God and Father of Jesus” by Stephen Smyth. The Rite concluded with the Kiss of Peace which marked the welcome of the new deacons into the Diaconate.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist followed, with everyone joining in the very appropriate “Lord, you have come to the seashore” as the gifts of bread and wine were brought to the altar.
At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Conti thanked those present for what he described as “a beautiful thing” – the deacons for the generosity and love of their response to the Lord’s call; their families for the generosity of their support, a work which would be ongoing; Fr. Paul Murray for his work with the candidates; and the priests, congregation and choir for their presence.
The Mass ended, as it had begun, with a Marian theme, with the singing of “Mary, full of Grace” to the well-known tune “O Sanctissima”, before the congregation spilled out into the sun to congratulate the new deacons and continue the celebrations in their parishes.