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Deacons’ Annual Gathering in Ayelford Thanksgiving, Formation and Commitment

The annual gathering of deacons and their wives from across our archdiocese of Southwark took place on Saturday November 4th at Aylesford Priory.  The event was well attended with around the diocese’s deacons present, many with their wives, we were joined by Archbishop John who had only recently returned from the synod in Rome.

Fr Victor Darlington, Episcopal Vicar for Education and for Southeast London, made a presentation on behalf of CARITAS, the umbrella organisation for charities across the diocese, of which he is also patron.

Ingrid La Trobe, Family, Child and Youth Catechesis Advisor for the Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis, and Deacon Michael Knight delivered a presentation about the importance of evangelisation in the family and led a brainstorming session on evangelisation in our parishes.

We celebrated Mass in the Relic chapel with Archbishop John and gave thanks for the lives of the recently deceased Deacon Kevin Dunne and Fr Francis Kemsley, O Carm., former Prior of Aylesford.  Archbishop John also thanked the deacons and their wives for their ministry and their generosity of spirit. At the end of the day Archbishop John took questions from the floor and offered some insightful reflections on the recent synod.

At these annual gatherings we renew our commitment to the diaconate and explore this ministry of service in dialogue together. Archbishop John has a dream of there being a deacon in every parish within the archdiocese.  There are presently 75 active deacons in Southwark, but there are 179 parishes; there is still a long way to go!  Thankfully, we welcomed two new candidates into diaconal formation on 4th November: James Gurney and Peter Julien; we also admitted Dan Turner into the Ministry of Acolyte, the penultimate step on the road to diaconal ordination.

Please pray for these men, for all vocations within our diocese, but especially for the permanent diaconate.

Here the Deacons of Southwark share stories about their distinctive ministry