According to a report in the Derry Journal, Bishop Donal Mckeown of Derry is seeking a conversation in the diocese re the possibility of ordained men, who may be married, serving as deacons in the diocese, along with ‘consecrated virgins’ – women who do not belong to a religious order but live as ‘brides of Christ’ in the ‘Ordo Virginum’, in Catholic canon law.
Bishop McKeown is quoted as saying:
“There is clearly a growing need to find support for priests in the many tasks that they have to take on.
“Clearly, deacons might well be ‘useful’. But Diaconate is a ministry in its own right, not just a part-time help for priests.
“Pope Francis is clearly indicating that Deacons would have a symbolic and sacramental value in the Church – and not just be extra ‘man-power’.
“Men would be asked to discern a specific call to Diaconate and not just to fill gaps in a particular model of Church.”
“Over this past year, I have met a few women in the Diocese who have expressed an interest in becoming Consecrated Virgins.
“We have three Consecrated Virgins in the Diocese already.
“These are not women who feel called to join a religious congregation.
“Rather, members of the Ordo Virginum live as ‘brides of Christ’ but go about their daily lives.
“They are specifically mentioned in the early Church and in modern Canon Law,”
For the full Derry Journal report, click here.