On the morning of Sunday 30 May, Bishop Marcus celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity in the community centre at St Wilfrid’s Ripon. Upon arrival, the parish priest, Canon Ian Smith, showed the Bishop the progress of the restoration works on the Church, which are now nearing completion.
The reason for the Bishop’s visit was to admit Martin Fenlon, one of the men in formation for the Permanent Diaconate in our Diocese, as a Candidate for Holy Orders – the first major step in his journey towards Ordination, God-willing, to the Diaconate. Martin was presented to Bishop Marcus by Rev David Arblaster, the Director of the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Leeds. Martin publicly stated his commitment to formation for the Permanent Diaconate, which the Bishop received. The congregation then offered their prayers for Martin that he may draw closer to Christ and be his faithful witness, attentive to the Holy Spirit and sharing the burdens of others. The Rite of Admission concluded with the Bishop’s blessing.
During the Mass, Bishop Marcus addressed the congregation in these words from the Roman Pontifical:
“Dear brethren in Christ, our brother stands here today in the presence of the Church, recommended to us and to you for admission among the candidates for holy orders.
Christ gave this command: “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest.” Our brother knows the Lord’s concern his flock, he sees the needs of the Church and he feels ready to respond generously to the Lord in the words of the prophet: “Here I am, send me forth.” He puts his hope in the Lord, trusting that he may answer his call faithfully.
This call from the Lord should be recognized and understood from the daily signs which reveal God’s will to men of discernment. When God chooses men to share in the ministry of Christ, he moves and helps them by his grace. At the same time, he entrusts us with the task of calling suitable and approved candidates and of consecrating them by a special seal of the Holy Spirit to the ministry of God and of the Church. By the sacrament of holy orders, he will be appointed to share in the ministry of salvation that Christ accomplished in the world. When the time comes, he will be given a part in our ministry of service to the Church, and build up by word and sacrament the Christian communities to which he will be sent.
Our brother here has already begun his preparation so that later he may be called to ordination by the bishop. Day by day he will learn to live the life of the Gospel and deepen his faith, hope, and love. In the practice of these virtues he will gain the spirit of prayer and grow in zeal to win the world to Christ.
Urged on by his love and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, he has come here to declare in public his desire to bind himself to the service of God and of mankind.”