Details from the Scottish Catholic Observer:
Paisley Diocese welcomed another deacon to their flock this week as the number of applications to the permanent diaconate in Scotland reached a record high.
Deacon Paul Graham, a chaplain for NHS Lanarkshire, formally assumed his new role in the Church on Wednesday September 12, where he was joined by principal celebrant Bishop Keenan of Paisley Diocese.
The welcome addition coincided with the news that the number of applications for the permanent diaconate has doubled within one year to 17.
The candidates will undertake a one-year propaedeutic period before going on to complete the four-year Bachelor course in Divinity at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham.
The number of deacons in Scotland is continuing to rise with nearly 100 full-time and part-time men in ministry across the country.
Bishop John Keenan, president of Priests for Scotland, said: “It is great news for the Catholic Church in Scotland to see, this year, the biggest number of candidates for the permanent diaconate.
“We have been praying faithfully for vocations all these years and now experience the joy of God answering our prayers.
“I would like to extend a special thanks to our vocations directors for their commitment and dedication in helping identify and accompany those who have answered God’s call with humility and a sincere heart.”
Deacon Graham Kelly, 61, is the national director for the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland’s commission for the permanent diaconate.
Deacon Kelly, who is from Paisley Diocese, said: “We have 17 candidates who are about to start their propaedeutic period of one year before going on to another four years of studies.
“We usually have between six to eight candidates per year but there has been a sharp rise in applications and the role of deacons within Scotland has grown over the years and is continuing to grow.
“The bottom line is that deacons are coming out of four years study with a great qualification in Bachelor of Divinity and have a good knowledge of theology, good practical liturgy and parish skills.
“Chaplains are vital to the Church and many deacons take up a full-time chaplaincy whether it be in prisons, schools or hospitals.
“We can perform Sacraments, including Baptism and of course we have an important role in proclaiming the Gospel each week at Mass.”