The event had been organised by the Archbishop to inform "men wondering if they are called to serve as deacons" more fully about the diaconal ministry and the period of formation involved. Fr Chris Fallon, director of the diaconal programme for Liverpool Archdiocese, led the meeting which covered various topics including the history of the permanent diaconate, its restoration after Vatican II, its introduction in this diocese in 1976, the skills and gifts needed for this pastoral and practical ministry, and the process of discernment and formation.
About 30 people attended the evening, including several men enquiring about the diaconate, some of whom were accompanied by their wives and/or parish priests, and a number of serving deacons. Two of the deacons, Grahame Appleyard and Tony Kerrigan, spoke about their own diaconal stories. Permanent deacons are called to a ministry of word, altar and charity and are meant to be the driving force for the Church's service of the world. They can be married or celibate, but cannot marry after ordination.
A highly instructive evening ended with a number of the men filling in an expression of interest in the permanent diaconate. Anyone wishing to know more about the diaconate can contact Fr Chris Fallon or Mrs Pauline Sweeney at the Diaconate Office in LACE, tel. 0151 522 1042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.