(Vatican Radio) On the Sixth Sunday of Easter at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome, three seminarians were ordained to the diaconate.
The three men were ordained by Bishop Joseph Toal from the Diocese of Motherwell in Scotland. Paul Denney, Bernard Mournian and Jonathan Whitworth have been in priestly formation for six years. The men are now transitional deacons, meaning that they have made promises of obedience and celibacy. They intend to be ordained to the priesthood in Scotland next year.
Whitworth, from the Diocese of Paisley and a student of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, said the entire day was a humbling experience. Reflecting on the Mass, he noted, “What comes to mind is the Litany of the Saints, when we were prostrated on the ground. When you hear the names of the saints being called out, asking them for their petitions, it is a deeply humbling experience. That’s what will stay with me forever, I’m sure.”
Bishop Toal was invited to the Eternal City to ordain the men because two of them are from his own diocese. Speaking ahead of the Ordination Mass, he said, “As some of the young men from today’s group of Scottish seminarians come to their diaconate ordination the Church in Scotland looks forward with anticipation and longing to their diaconal and priestly ministry in our dioceses – some may also be called later to the episcopal ministry, although it is unlikely I will be around to reminisce!”
Although the formation programme at the Scots College lasts seven years, Mournian believes that it is important to soak up as much of the Roman way of life as possible before returning to Scotland. “The gift of these years in Rome has been an incomparably precious privilege as I continue in my vocation. I cannot thank the Lord enough for giving me the opportunity to study and live in this wonderful place, which I will always consider as my second home.”
Almost two hundred people were present at the Mass. Special guests of honor included the newly ordained deacons’ families and a second Scottish Bishop, Stephen Robson, who was formerly a Spiritual Director at the College. The Rector, Fr Daniel Fitzpatrick, was delighted with how smoothly everything went, giving special thanks to the College community for their support and prayers in the period before the ordination.