Ordination to the Diaconate - Michael Hangan

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Home > Archbishop > Homilies > Ordination to the Diaconate - Michael Hangan

19 May 2013

On this very beautiful and important feast, the Feast of Pentecost, we have an opportunity to reflect again on the very origins and purpose of the Church, whose Birthday we celebrate today.

We know that the Church was been provided for well, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the treasure of the Word of God, and the various Sacraments which meet our individual and communal needs.

Linked to those gifts are also the responsibilities which have to be undertaken, first of all by all of us as the Baptised, and in particular by those who have a special share in the Mission of the Church as Bishops, Priests and Deacons. There may be differences in the way the ministries are expressed, but each has an important place in the overall life of the Church.

Tonight, my friends,  we are here to accompany Michael in the next step in his life, to become a Permanent Deacon to serve in the Archdiocese of Hobart. It is a most significant moment for you, Michael, for  me as your Bishop, your wife Eva, your sons Mathias and Izak, the parishioners of St. Therese’s Parish Moonah/Lutana, and indeed for all those who have accompanied you in your preparation over the past years since first you made it known that you were aware of this special calling in your life.

It was Pope John Paul II who reminded the Permanent Deacons in the United States, when meeting with him on 19 September 1987, that “at the very heart of the diaconate, to which you, Michael have been called, is to be a servant of the mysteries of Christ, and at one and the same time, to be a servant of your brothers and sisters.”

Pope John Paul went on to say that these two dimensions are inseparably joined together in one reality, something that highlights the importance of the ministry which comes with ordination to the Diaconate.

That ministry, as you know, is divided into the ministry of the Word, the ministry of the Altar, and the ministry of Charity. The Word of God inevitably leads to worship in the Eucharist at the altar, which in turn leads to a new way of giving life to the expressions of charity. It may happen that at a particular time, one of those ministries takes precedence over the others; but the links remain just the same.

It was the same Pope John Paul who some years later, reminded the Permanent Deacons that the work of the new evangelisation needs their contribution, to be marked by consistency and dedication, by courage and generosity, and in daily service of the liturgy, of the word and of charity.

This ordination is taking place on the Feast of Pentecost, always a special celebration in the life of the Church. It is also the day when the Year of Grace comes to an end.

During the Year of Grace, we have been encouraged to “contemplate the face of Christ.” The year may be at an end, but the contemplation of the face of Christ, can and must continue in our own lives, and with our encouragement in the lives of others as well.

It is clear that a Permanent Deacon will have a special witness to give as a husband and as a father. You and your wife Eva, have already entered into the communion of life and love which is Marriage, and we are grateful that Eva has been so supportive of your vocation now to serve the Church in the Diaconate from today onwards. As husband and wife, you both are living examples of the fidelity and indissolubility which are integral to our Christian understanding of marriage.

Another way in which a deacon is able to have an impact is in the environment of the parish, and it is well known that you are already a significant presence in the Moonah-Lutana Parish. It is comforting to see so many from that particular parish here this evening to witness this special event in your life.

Over the past three years, you have given valuable service to the Church in Tasmania, particularly in the field of Youth Ministry, which is always a challenging field to work in because of the changing circumstances in the lives of young people.

I know that I speak for everyone here, when expressing our great joy that you are being called by God to the Order of Deacon. It is another very significant moment in the life of Archdiocese as you are now the third person to be ordained as a Permanent Deacon. I continue to express the hope that there will be more to follow.

I believe that there are others who may take inspiration from the step you are taking tonight, and I encourage them to come forward and to 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, to be lived according to the example of Christ, and to declare before us all your intention to undertake freely and willingly the Office of Deacon.