Auckland Bishop and Hamilton diocese apostolic administrator Bishop Stephen Lowe called on Hamilton’s newest permanent deacons to live a life of service, imitating Christ who came “not to be served but to serve”, and who listens to those in need.
Bishop Lowe ordained John Marneth-Rust, Glenn Clunie and Mark Hassett to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary on October 15.
At the beginning of the Mass, Bishop Lowe thanked the wives of the permanent deacons: Barbara Marneth-Rust, Lynn Clunie and Alison Hasset.
“I particularly want to welcome you wives here, because this is a journey that you have been taking together with your husbands. You are in lots of ways their true formators in the ways of love and service,” he said.
“The exercise of diaconate that is given to your husbands today takes nothing away from their first vocation which is to you and your families, but rather it’s a deeper way of living out that life that Jesus calls us all to, that self-giving life of love and service to one another.”
In his homily, Bishop Lowe, quoting Pope St John Paul II, reminded the men that they are not “part-time employees of the Church”, and that their ministry is one of “mission”.
He said that, similar to how they grew into their vocation of marriage, which is one of “of self-giving loving service of your wives and families”, they will have to grow into their vocation as permanent deacons.
“You are configured to Christ the servant, Christ the deacon . . . You will be made deacons today, but you have to grow into what this means by daily modelling your life and ministry after the example of Christ the deacon,” the bishop said.
Bishop Lowe added that St John Paul II said that deacons must always promote unity and avoid being the source of conflict.
Bishop Lowe also touched on the first reading, which was about Samuel’s response to God’s call.
“At the end of that first reading, Samuel’s words captured the basic attitude of a deacon. ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening.’ A deacon is one who listens in prayer,” Bishop Lowe said.
“As servants of the Gospel, look to how Christ prayed. Look how he put the Scriptures into action in the messiness of the people’s lives he served. Look to how he serves in humility.”
Towards the end of the Mass, Bishop Lowe enjoined the faithful to pray for more people to be called to priesthood or the religious life.
Deacons Marneth-Rust, Clunie and Hassett will serve the parishes of Morrinsville, Taupo and Tauranga, respectively.
Bishop Lowe thanked the new permanent deacons’ parish priests for supporting them in their journey.