The atmosphere in St. Andrew’s Cathedral on Friday evening was warm and welcoming for the ordination of Joseph O’Donnell to the Permanent Diaconate. Joseph, a parishioner of St. Mungo’s, Townhead, was joined by family, friends and parishioners. Archbishop Tartaglia presided at the ordination Mass, and with him were Archbishop Emeritus Conti and many priests from the Diocese, as well as members of the Permanent Diaconate from across Scotland. The music of the liturgy was supported by the St. Mungo Singers, with their Directors Mgr.Gerry Fitzpatrick and Dr. Noel Donnelly.
Before the service began, the choir sang a number of motets, and Dr. Donnelly played some quiet clarsach airs. They then led the congregation in singing the Pauline Greeting (Grace to you and Peace) and “Lord, you have come to the Seashore”, a favourite hymn for ordinations, as the clergy processed through the Cathedral to the sanctuary. Archbishop Tartaglia welcomed everyone to the celebration, particularly Deacon Joseph’s family and his fellow members of the Permanent Diaconate.
After the Liturgy of the Word, the Rite of Ordination took place, beginning with the calling of the candidate. Archbishop Tartaglia spoke briefly to the candidate and the congregation on the nature of the ministry to which he was about to be ordained, reminding them that it was at base a ministry of service to all, summed up in three words “Word, altar and charity”. He was about to be consecrated by the laying on of hands to perform these duties, with the help of God, and to do so in a way which would identify him as a disciple of the Lord.
It felt quite emotional to hear Joseph confirming his willingness to undertake this ministry, as his wife and children listened from the front pew. The solemnity of this part of the service was underlined by the singing of the Litany of Saints, led by cantor Gerry Healy, before the laying on of hands by the Archbishop, the prayer of consecration and the investiture with stole and dalmatic.
The rite ended with the presentation to the new deacon of a Book of the Gospels with the invitation to preach what he read there and practice what he preached. Deacon Joseph was then welcomed with kiss of peace (and a warm embrace) by the Archbishop and the priests, while the choir and congregation sang “Love is of God”.
The Mass continued now with the preparation of the gifts, with Deacon Joseph assisting at the altar . The music of the Mass made this a special occasion for all present,, with the singing of the Sanctus, memorial acclamation, Doxology and Agnus Dei, as well as the communion antiphon. The congregation took full part in this and it was lovely to hear so many voices filling the church.
At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Tartaglia congratulated Deacon Joseph and invited everyone to join with him in his congratulations. There was then an opportunity for photographs before everyone went out into a lovely summer’s evening.