Congratulations to Antun Pasalic, ordained deacon on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, September 8th, 2021
Homily for Diaconate Ceremony of Antun Pasalic, Ennis Cathedral, 8th of September 2021
Ordination as Deacon
Today, after years of diligent preparation, Antun is to be ordained a deacon for the dioces of Killaloe. This status today is different to being ordained a permanent deacon. Antun is being ordained a transitory deacon, which, apart from being is a steppingstone or a milestone on the way to being a priest, God willing, is a full, time-honoured ministry in the Church in itself.
The term Deacon is an office or a role or a ministry in the Church that is generally associated with service of some kind. There are different traditions in Christian denominations in relation to diaconate and in the Catholic Tradition the office of deacon is part of the clerical state.
Meaning of the term Deacon
The word “deacon” is derived from the Greek word diákonos (διάκονος), which means “servant”, “waiting-man”, “minister”, or “messenger”. One of the interpretations is that it literally means “through the dust”, referring to the dust raised by the busy servant or messenger.
What a great image for Antun today. It is our hope, and certainly it has been our experience here in Ennis that Antun has the sleeves rolled up and is ready to blaze a trail to raise much dust in his sacred duties here in Abbey Pastoral area and in the diocese of Killaloe!
Roots and Background
Antun is a man of many interests, talents, skills and no doubt he will continue to harness these gifts in the service of the Lord, throughout his ministry. During his training he has shown great promise and potential during his time in seminary and in the diocese, a talented cantor, considerable academic ability, a man of practicality, application, diligence, no stranger to and not afraid of hard work.
In recent weeks, to my delight and that of the staff of Westbourne, he has revealed considerable talents as a baker! Most apt, considering the baking legends and stories associated with St. Flannan, the patron of the diocese.
While he is proud of his Croatian and Roscrea roots, Antun has adapted well to his new native town of the Citadel here in Ennis! Even though he retains the characteristic tones and figures of speech of his Native Zagreb he has also embraced plenty of ‘Clare-isms’ integral to his conversation.
Birth of Our Lady theme
The feast of the birth of Our Lady that we celebrate today, is a day of beginning. A day of new departure. A day of preparation for the beginning of salvation with the arrival of someone special with a great mission in life. Mary, through her ‘yes’ at the annunciation was to give birth to the Saviour of the World that changed world and salvation history for all eternity.
Today we acknowledge and celebrate the ‘yes’ to vocation of Antun who like our Lady has responded so generously and with great courage, willingness and openness.
It came as no surprise to me that Antun chose a feast day of Our Lady to be ordained, being aware of his dedication to and association with Our Lady’s Shrine at Knock and all the devoted service he has given there in the past years, working there as a student.
The Word of God
The scriptures assure us today that Antun is not going to plough a lonely furrow, but will have very important support to enable his fulfil the duties of his vocation as deacon. Even if the queues of people lining up to be priests are not breaking down the door, the essential thing is that the Lord will journey with Antun and indeed this is true for every one of us in our respective vocations, every step of the way.
The prophet Micah tells us:
He will stand and feed his flock
With the power of the Lord,
With the majesty of the name of God.
Gospel – Genealogy of St. Matthew
I always love the narrative of the Gospel that is the genealogy of St. Matthew. Jesus is of the Davidic line right down through the generations through Jewish tradition, all the way from Abraham to St. Joseph. In this year dedicated to St. Joseph we have a figure we can draw inspiration from in vocation terms; dedication, diligence, faithfulness, full of fatherly care.
The office of Deacon
It is generally assumed that the office of deacon originated in the selection of seven men by the apostles, among them Stephen, to assist with the charitable work of the early church as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 6.
Scriptural Qualities of a Deacon
A biblical description of the qualities required of a bishop and deacon can be found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13.
The office of a Bishop
It is particularly interesting what is said of a bishop:
A bishop then must be blameless … vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; …
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous..
(They must have had and interesting class of a Bishop way back in the day!!!)
On the Office of a Deacon
Scripture, however, Antun will be glad to hear is not as prescriptive for the deacon in the same text:
For they that have used the office of a deacon will purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
So the text tells us!
Deacon – man of Prayer
As deacon, we will look to Rev. Antun to be a man of Prayer, a man who having spent prolonged times of profound communion with the Lord in adoration and like Moses will be able to share the radiance of the presence of the Lord to and with those to whom he will minister.
Deacon – Preaching the Word of God
A big part of Antun’s ministry as deacon will be around the Word of God. As deacon, he will be called upon in the service of preaching and teaching the Word of God. I know from his involvement in many liturgies here in the Cathedral during lockdown, Antun will has some experience and aptitude in this area already and has have no doubt he will continue to grow and gain expertise and know-how in this important area.
The Word of God
In the Epistles we are reminded by St. Paul:
I do not boast of preaching the Gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it!
St. Paul continues in that passage to remind us that it’s a delight and privilege to preach and proclaim the Word of God.
Congratulations and every blessing to Antun, your family friends and acquaintances on this happy day. With great delight we mark this occasion with you and your family. We rejoice & celebrate with you & promise to keep you in the prayers for the generous ministry of service you are about to take on. May the Lord reward you for your dedication, commitment and love of the Lord and continue to bless you in abundance and may Our Lady wrap you in her mantle on this her feast day and always. Amen!