4 Sept 2011 - Diaconate Ordination - Paul Crowe

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Diaconate Ordination
Paul Crowe
Church of the Apostles
4 September 2011

My Dear Friends,

Paul, who for you, Gordana, is your husband, and for you, Natasha, Nicholas, Peter, Annelies and Benjamin, is your father, for you Laurel, is your son, and for you Julianne and Jenny, is your brother, and for many of you, is a close friend, is now to be raised to the order of deacons. I invite all of you, for a moment, to consider carefully the ministry to which Paul is to be promoted.

Paul will draw new strength from the gift of the Holy Spirit. He will be a help to me, and to any future Bishop, and to the body of priests, as a minister of the word, of the altar and of charity. He will make himself a servant to all.

As a minister of the altar he will proclaim the Gospel, prepare for the celebration of the Eucharist, and give the Lord’s body and blood to the community of believers.  It will also be his duty, at the discretion of the bishop, to bring the Word of God to believer and unbeliever alike, to preside over public prayer, to baptise, to assist at marriages and to bless them, to give viaticum to the dying and to give viaticum to the dying and to lead the rites of Christian burial.

Once Paul is consecrated by the laying on of hands, the power that comes to bishops from the apostles, and is bound more closely to the altar, he will perform works of charity in the name of the bishop or of the parish priest. From the way he goes about these duties, may you recognize him as a disciple of Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served.

Paul, you are being raised to the order of deacons. The Lord has set an example for you to follow. It is the same Lord who called Jeremiah, who is now calling you, to a special ministry and mission in the Church, and to the world.

As a deacon you will serve Jesus Christ, who was known among his disciples as one who served others. The Gospel reading this evening tells us that after first choosing twelve disciples, Jesus then chose a wider group again, 72 in this instance, to go out and preach the good news of the Kingdom. God could well have achieved the desired result without calling on anyone else to assist in the task.

What is truly amazing is that God, through the Incarnation, enlists our help in our own redemption. Christ, the perfect human being, wants us to join in his saving work, and so invites all of us to become engaged in one way or another.

In the writings of St. Paul, one often notices how he refers to his “fellow workers.” “We are fellow workers with God; you are God’s farm, God’s building.” 1 There are many ways in which we can be “fellow workers” with Christ. Marriage, as we know, and as you Paul, certainly know, is a special vocation.

Caring for people in terms of providing them with good dental care is another; offering pastoral care to those in hospital, as Gordana does, is yet another. Everything, from the smallest act of witness, for Christ’s sake, to the witness of the martyr, helps to build the kingdom.

Like those whom the apostles chose for works of charity, you should be a person of good reputation, filled with wisdom and the Holy Spirit. You are to show, before God and everyone, that you are above every suspicion of blame, a true minister of Christ and of God’s mysteries, a person firmly rooted in faith. Never turn away from the hope which the Gospel offers; now you must not only listen to God’s Word but you are also to preach it.

I exhort you to hold the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. You are to express in action what you proclaim by word of mouth. Then the people of Christ, brought to life by the Spirit, will be an offering God accepts. Finally, on the last day, when you go to meet the Lord, you will hear him say; “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”

I know that I speak for everyone here, when expressing our great joy that you have been called by God to the Order of Deacon. It is another very significant moment in the life of the Archdiocese, as you are now the second person to be ordained as a Permanent Deacon, and hopefully not the last. Just as you have taken inspiration from our first deacon, Nick Macfarlane, I believe that there are others who will take inspiration from the step you are taking tonight, and I ask encourage them to come forward and speak about their aspirations.

Before we go any further however, as the Church requires of both of us, I invite you to make your commitment to a life lived according to the example of Christ, and to declare your intention to undertake the office of Deacon.


1 1 Corinthians 3, 9.