About the Permanent Diaconate

The diaconate is an ordained ministry which is rooted in scripture.Chapter 6 of the Acts of Apostles records how the apostlesappointed seven men to see to the needs of the communitymembers who were being overlooked. This is the essence of the ministry of deacons: to serve those in our community who are poor and overlooked, whatever form their poverty may take.

Permanent deacons were very much a feature of the early Church but the ministry fell out of use over a thousand years ago, anddiaconate simply became a stage on the road to ordination for priesthood.
In 1967 Pope Paul VI, on the advice of the bishops of the world, restored the order of permanent deacons. In 2000 the IrishBishops began the process to have the permanent diaconateintroduced into Ireland. Here in Kildare & Leighlin Dioceseapplications were invited in 2008 and the seven candidates who were accepted in 2009 have since undertaken four years offormation.

The permanent diaconate is open to single and married men.

Single men ordained to the diaconate, whether preparing for the priesthood or not, make a vow of celibacy and are not allowed to marry. A married man must have his wife’s consent to becomea deacon.
Permanent deacons are not ‘substitute priests’, nor are theyintended to take the place of religious, or of lay ministers.
In regard to the liturgy and sacraments of the Church, a deacon can baptise, preside at marriages and funerals along with assisting the priest at the celebration at the Eucharist, includingproclaiming the Gospel and preaching.

Letter from Bishop Denis Nulty

On Sunday 13th October, we will celebrate the ordination of seven permanent deacons in Carlow Cathedral. This is a first for our diocese. It was pointed out to me recently that 2013 has been a remarkable year of ‘firsts’ or new beginnings in our Church and in our diocese. We have had the election of Pope Francis, our first Pope from Latin America. More close to home, we had my own ordination as Bishop and the ordination of our fi rst priest (Fr. Terence McGovern) in a number of years and now we have our first permanent deacons.

All these new beginnings remind us that the Lord is forever calling us to new life in him. At times, we might believe that our path will always be the same or even that our course is run but the message of the Gospel is about how the Lord leads us in new life-giving directions.

I hope that we can have a new approach to the issue of vocations to the priesthood. I fi rmly believe that the Lord is still calling men to the priesthood and that priesthood is a precious ministry which needs to be sustained. I want to do all I can to support those who may wish to spend time discerning their calling. I ask you to keep such candidates in your prayers. A few words of support and encouragement to a friend or family member can make a deep impression. Again, I thank everyone for their prayers and kindness. I thank our priests for their service and example to future candidates. May we all continue to serve the Lord with gladness.

+ Denis Nulty

Meet our Deacons


John Dunleavy, Parish of Clane, Co. Kildare, married to Rosemary, two sons, Eoin and Brian. John is retired from An Garda Siochana.

Gary Moore, Parish of Rhode, Co. Offaly, married to Dolores, six children, Laura, Niamh, Linda, Ellen, Caitlín and Charley. Gary is actively involved in various ministries.


David O’Flaherty, Parish of Cathedral Parish, Carlow, married to Maria, three children, Hazel, Jack and Rory. David is principal of a school in Bagenalstown.

Fergal O’Neill, Parish of Naas, Co. Kildare, married to Mary, six children, Michael, Cliodhna, Aoife, Eadaoin, Karl and Sidhbh. Fergal is teaching in Knocklyon.

Joe O’Rourke, Parish of Doonane, Co. Laois, married to Philomena, two daughters, Jessica and Kate. Joe is a full time student of catechetics.

Patrick Roche, Parish of Leighlin, Co. Carlow, married to Mairead, three children, Tessa, Lucy and Patrick. Patrick works in the area of financial services.


Jim Stowe, Parish of Newbridge, Co. Kildare, married to Carmel, two children, Philip and Emma. Jim works in the area of IT in a school in Edenderry.