Updated: 03/12/12 : 06:33:38
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History as married men to be ordained in Sligo

By Eugene McGloin

SIX MARRIED Catholics will be ordained later this week in Sligo to carry out baptisms, funerals liturgies and even weddings.

The ordination move was described at the weekend as an ''historic day for the diocese of Elphin.'' In reality the ordinations will prevent parishes from collapsing.

The six, all men, will be ordained in a ceremony at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by Bishop Christy Jones.

The event takes places at 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon next and the men will be known as Permanent Deacons.

They will ''assist the Bishop and priests in their pastoral ministry,'' says a statement in the Cathedral's online bulletin.

In addition to baptisms, funerals and weddings, the Permanent Deacons may also preach and take care of various charitable works.

Shortage of Vocations

It is the most direct indicator yet of the impact of the shortage of vocations in the Catholic Church, although no mention of the crisis is made in the weekend online bulletin.

The office of Permanent Deacon was a feature of the early Church which later fell by the wayside.

It was restored as an ordained ministry by the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago.

All those who are to be ordained in Sligo next weekend are married, says the Sligo Cathedral online bulletin.

''They will continue in their chosen professions,'' adds the bulletin: ''and minister part-time in various parishes throughout the dioceses.''

Member of the public are invited to attend next Saturday's ceremony.

New Bishop

Meanwhile, there are no indications of any imminent announcement of a new Bishop for the Diocese of Elphin.

Bishop Jones submitted his resignation when he reached 75 years in March 2011.

Front runner for the vacancy is likely to be to be Canon Tom Hever, Sligo, whose CV includes two long term ministries also held by Bishop Jones.

Other priests who could be in contention include Canon Niall Ahern, Strandhill and Fr Michael Drumm, currently based at Maynooth. See  SligoToday 25/6/2012.

Finally the vacancy could be filled by a diocese such as Elphin being amalgamated with Ardagh and Clonmacnois in Leitrim and Longford and/or Kilmore, which includes Cavan and north Leitrim.

Meanwhile an Irish priest reared in Sligo has been named as the new general secretary of an organisation of Catholic bishops that monitors the EU.

Fr Patrick Daly (61), will take up his three-year post with the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) in January 2013.

COMECE represents the 26 Catholic bishops' conferences of the European Union member states, and is based in Brussels.

A past pupil of Clongowes Wood College in Co Kildare, before ordination he worked in Brussels, and speaks fluently in several European languages.

He has since worked in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Fr Daly's role will involve raising awareness within the church of EU policy.

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