A young friar of the British Province of Carmelites, Brother Gerard (Ged) Walsh, was ordained deacon on Monday. The ordination Mass was held at Thicket Priory, the monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns near York, and the presider was Rt Rev Terence Patrick Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough Diocese.
The nuns' chapel was full, with local worshippers and diocesan clergy being joined by Carmelite friars from across the British Province and beyond, as well as Ged's family and friends who had travelled over from Wallasey in The Wirral.
Brother Ged - who made his solemn profession as a Carmelite friar last October - is a member of the Whitefriar community at Heslington in the suburbs of York. The community's main ministry is ecumenical chaplaincy work at the University of York and The York Hospital, and friends and colleagues from both places were among the congregation.
Students and alumni of the University of York Catholic Chaplaincy were among those praying for Ged. Beautiful music was led by Carmelite Sisters from Thicket Priory and Marissa Yea, a student at the University of York Catholic Chaplaincy.
In his opening words Bishop Terence referred to the appropriateness of Brother Gerard being ordained deacon on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. A deacon's ministry involves caring for the sick and needy, and proclaiming the Good News of God's love, a vocation that was nurtured in Ged over years of service in Lourdes. It was in Lourdes last summer that Ged was instituted as an acolyte (the final liturgical stage before diaconate ordination), and in May this year he will further commit himself to the service of pilgrims as a member of the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes.
During the Liturgy of the Word the readings were proclaimed by Gerard's mother and father, Eileen and Philip Walsh, and Revd. Norman Carew, deacon at his home parish of St Joseph & St Alban in Wallasey. The rite of ordination began with Brother Gerard being called forward and presented by the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr Wilfrid McGreal.
Having accepted Brother Gerard's candidacy for ordination, Bishop Terence preached a homily about the ministry of service and evangelisation that a deacon is called to. Making reference to the fact that Pope Benedict had earlier that day announced his decision to retire, Bishop Terry joked that no one would easily forget Ged's ordination!
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