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Monday, October 24, 2016
Clifton Diocese welcomes new deacons
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¬†The Bishop of Clifton, Rt Rev Declan Lang, will be ordaining three deacons in Clifton Cathedral, Bristol, this Saturday 14 July. The ordination Mass begins at 11am. The new Permanent Deacons are Kevin Stapleton and Joseph Philip both from Bristol. Malcolm Ferrier from Warminster will be ordained Deacon on his way to priesthood. Kevin Stapleton is a parishioner at St Gerard Majella in Knowle. He works as the Sales and Marketing Manager for a local plastics distributor. He was born in Swindon in 1963. Kevin met wife Deborah and moved to Bristol where they were married at St Bernadette's in Whitchurch. In September next year Kevin and Deborah will celebrate 25 years of marriage. They have three sons William, Conor and Myles. Deborah who has always supported Kevin and their children in their faith became a Catholic four years ago. She plays a very active role in parish life, both in Children's Liturgy of the Word and catechises for children preparing for First Holy Communion. Talking of his decision to train as a deacon, Kevin said, "Over the years I have pondered this particular question many times. It would seem the more I ponder this issue, the more complex and difficult the answer becomes. I can say however that as much as I try to put the diaconate from my mind the more it comes back to me. There have been many instances in my life that I can only attribute to the power of the Spirit ≠ too many to ignore. "I am both excited and humbled at the prospect of ordination. The parish has been a tremendous support throughout my formation. I am particularly grateful to our parish priest Father George Henwood for his encouragement." Joseph Philip is a parishioner at St Nicholas of Tolentino, Easton. He is from a Syro-Malabar Catholic family in Parampuzha in Kottayam District in Kerala, South India. He has two brothers and three sisters; one of them is a nun. Joseph is married to Lilly and they have two daughters ≠ Brity and Brijil. Joseph's ordination is an historic day for the Syro-Malabar community as he will be the first person to be ordained a Permanent Deacon within the Syro-Malabar tradition. The Syro-Malabar Church which is in communion with the See of Rome, traces its roots back to the Apostle St Thomas who is said to have come to India in 52 AD. There total number of Syro-Malabar Catholics is large and they are spread throughout the world including a vibrant community within the Clifton Diocese. Joseph's wife, Lilly works for the NHS and came to Bristol in December 2000. Joseph and his daughters joined her in May 2001. Before coming to this country the family lived in Bahrain where Joseph was always actively involved in the Church. Joseph said: "I had not thought about becoming a deacon during our early time in Bristol, as the concept of a layman becoming a deacon is not present in the Syro-Malabar tradition. Father Richard Mckay, the parish priest of St Nicholas of Tolentino, recommended the idea of diaconate to me. With the help and support of Father Richard and Deacon Jack Brannigan and the parish community, I accepted this call from God and started the preparation towards the Permanent Diaconate. "I am very much looking forward to Saturday the 14th of July. Although I am a bit nervous, at the same time I am very excited to receive this special ministry and outpouring of the Holy Spirit." Joseph's brother James is coming from Arizona to attend the ordination. Other family members travelling to Clifton Cathedral include Joseph's sister and her family from Liverpool. There will also be seven Syro-Malabar priests from all over the UK attending the ordination in addition to the many priests and deacons from the Clifton Diocese. Music will include songs in Malayalam ≠ the Syro-Malabar language. Further information about the diaconate and Clifton Diocese can be found by visiting
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