The sense of joy and celebration was palpable even before you entered St. Mary’s, Calton. Welcoming banners and beautiful tubs of flowers greeted people as they assembled from all parts of the Archdiocese to witness the historic ordination of our first permanent deacons.

They are:

John Cairns from Christ the King’s

Andrew Davis from St. Robert’s

Jim Dean from St. Gregory’s

Frank Flynn from St. Margaret’s

Jack Gallacher from St. Catherine Laboure’s

Kevin Kelly from St. Robert’s

Jim Kernaghan from St. Simon’s

Bernard Lavery from Holy Family & St. Ninian’s

Thomas Morrison from St. Brendan’s

Edward McDonald from St. Paul’s, Shettleston

Kenny McGeachie from St. Paul’s, Shettleston

Michael O’Donnell from St. Mary’s

Inside the church itself, full to capacity of relatives, friends and fellow parishioners of the twelve men to be ordained, there was a buzz of excitement and a real feeling of community. Then, as the Archbishop entered with the candidates, accompanies by a large number of diocesan priests, the opening processional hymn – “Grace to you and peace” – enveloped and gathered everyone together as a worshipping community, and led them into the singing of the canticle from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians to the familiar tune of “Alleluia, sing to Jesus!”. The sense of celebration continued with the singing of the Gloria from the St. Gregory Mass by Mgr. Gerry Fitzpatrick.

The readings and psalm (Psalm 33) for the Ordination Mass were, appropriately, from the Vigil Mass of Saints Peter and Paul. The Rite of Ordination then followed with the presentation and election of the candidates. In his homily, Archbishop Conti noted that some of the candidates were single and some married but the characteristic they had in common was high motivation which had supported them through five years of study. He drew the attention of all to the second reading where St. Paul recognised that he had been specially chosen, and to the Gospel (St. John 21:15-19) where St. Peter received his second calling. These men, said the Archbishop, could now be said to be “belted to Christ” even as the apostle had been. This would require sacrifice but they would never be without the support of Christ.

As the candidates prostrated themselves before the altar, the congregation joined together in singing the Litany of the Saints, seeking the help of God and the prayers of the Communion of Saints for those to be ordained. The candidates were then ordained, vested and presented with the Book of the Gospels. During the vesting, the St. Mungo Singers sang a setting of the canticle from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians – “Formed in God” (words and music by Dr. Noel Donnelly).

The Ordination Mass then continued with the preparation of the gifts while the congregation sang the popular and particularly appropriate hymn “Lord, you have come to the seashore”. The singing of the Sanctus, Acclamation and Agnus Dei maintained the atmosphere of joyful celebration. The Mass ended with the singing of Noel Donnelly’s new hymn to St. Paul set to a familiar tune – “For all the saints” which ensured everyone could join in and finish the service as they had begun, as a worshipping community in celebration.

As the congregation made their way out to greet the new Deacons, the St. Mungo Singers sang the anthem “My Shepherd is Lord”. Outside there were groups of happy people who looked as though they did not want to break up this celebration but eventually they began to make their way to their own celebrations at their parishes for this great day.