New deacons add even more global flavour to Perth

13 Nov 2008

By therecord

It’s recorded in the Acts of the Apostles that the apostles found themselves becoming more and more overwhelmed with work in ministering to the rapidly-growing numbers of converts to the new faith of Christianity in Jerusalem shortly after Christ rose from the dead.
Their solution? Ordain special assistants to help in administration and other tasks for the Church, freeing the apostles for the critical task of preaching the good news about Jesus Christ.

Seeking their help: The three men due to be ordained lie prostrate before the altar at Good Shepherd Church in Lockridge on November 1 as the congregation chants the Litany of the Saints, an ancient prayer seeking intercession on their behalf. Photo: P Rosengren

By Peter Rosengren
So began the Office of Deacon, special assistants to the Church’s first bishops, whose jobs included preaching the gospel, ministering to the poor, caring for widows and orphans and distributing alms to those in need.
The three newest deacons in the Archdiocese of Perth are Jean-Noel Antoine Marie, Bonaventure Anny Echeta and Jeronimo de Jesus Flamenco, who were ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Barry Hickey at Good Shepherd Church in Lockridge in front of a packed congregation of several hundred last Saturday evening, November 2.
The three, all of whom studied at St Charles Seminary in Perth, hail from three parts of the globe: Jean-Noel from Mauritius, Bonaventure from Kenya and Jeronimo from El Salvador.
Like many such recent ordinations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Perth the three new deacons lend an increasingly international flavour to the local church – both in terms of clergy and the populations gathered in local parishes.
Archbishop Hickey said during the ceremony that the task of being a deacon is not a job; it is a special call from God that comes with great importance and responsibilities.
“It must be approached in fear and trembling,” he said of the weighty responsibilities associated with the diaconate.
While all the baptised have a part to play in the will of God for the world, the three new deacons have a special role awaiting them: as deacons they must serve – both the Church and its people, “especially the poor.”
They will not be able to do that “unless they get to know the poor personally. It’s something they have to do,” he said.
“They are to be the love and mercy of Jesus Christ  and the compassion of the Lord for many, many people,” he said of the lifetime of duties waiting in front of them.
As ministers of Holy Scripture they had to be formed by reading the Gospel and preaching it.
“They must know it; they will live the Word themselves and offer it to others,” he said.
In addition they would administer the Sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony and give the Eucharist.
Deacons have a special role assisting the Bishop and are called particularly to minister to people, the Archbishop told the congregation.
They could also go where bishops cannot go, to be with the poor and caring for the sick; they were to become experts in the Gospel.
photos by p rosengren