Ok. It's over and just let me say to sum it all up..........................folk are not getting in lightly. The whole process began on Friday 7th of May when we gathered once again in Emmaus Retreat Centre with the aspirants from the Archdiocese of Dublin. That evening was a relaxed affair and we were briefed on the proceedings that were planned for the following day. We then chatted for a while and retired to bed to get a good nights sleep.
Saturday morning arrived and I was into the interview panel at 9.30am for a 45 min interview with Fr Joe McDermott PP of Newbridge, Conor Hickey, the Director of Crosscare and a counsellor from Accord. That was grilling enough and really pinned me to my collar to try an explain exactly why I felt the Church needed the Diaconate again and why I felt I had anything to offer as a Deacon when there were many lay people fulfilling every role that the Deacon would be expected to attend to. I know Cardinal Clancy of Sydney Australia had a great response to that but for now let us just reflect on what Pope Paul VI said:
"For even though some of the functions of deacons are usually committed to laymen, especially in missionary lands, still "it is helpful to strengthen, by the imposition of hands—which goes back to apostolic tradition—and to link more closely with the altar, men who are to perform truly diaconal functions . . . so that through the sacramental grace of the diaconate they will be enabled to fulfill their ministry more effectively."4 This will be ideal to highlight the special nature of this order, which should not be regarded as just a step toward the priesthood, but rather as enriched with an indelible character and a special grace of its own so that those who are called to it can "serve the mysteries of Christ and of the Church" in a stable fashion."
After the interview I had about 15 mins before I met the psychologist. A lovely lady who put me very much at ease and we simply spoke about the journey to date. When we had finished talking she handed me a book of 563 questions that we would have 2 hours to complete. That almost made me mad! I broke off from answering in order to go for lunch which was a most welcome distraction I can tell you. That was very tough and very intimate. I cannot remember the test being that hard in '88 when I was considering Priesthood but I suppose times have changed and responsibility is now integral to the process so it has to be a very tough sieve.
When all was over I said my goodbyes, knowing that I was one of the very lucky ones who was able to go home at about 2ish. Some of the other lads were not seeing the psychologist until 5.30pm or thereabouts. A very long day for them.
So I will now remain quiet, persistently pondering my next move and await the decision of those charged with the responsibility of choosing and inviting.
Pray for us.
Múlier, ecce fílius tuus, Totus Tuus!Fergal