Bishop Declan Lang has ordained two men to the permanent diaconate

Bishop Declan Lang has ordained two men to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral Church of Ss Peter and Paul in Clifton.

The two candidates were John Scanlon from St Augustine of Canterbury parish in Downend, Bristol, and Paul White from St Luke and St Teresa parish in Wincanton, Somerset.

Mr Scanlon said: “It has been a long journey to ordination for Gail and I. On several occasions we felt we were never going to get there, or that we were not ready for the responsibility.

“Ordination is a huge commitment and a wonderful privilege. I started my journey just over 10 years ago when I went to a friend’s funeral. While there I felt something good in the church.

“I was not a Christian then but I felt compelled to ask the priest about Christianity. He directed me to the parish Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programme. Over the next six months I found Christ in the smiles of the people of St Augustine’s parish.

“I started going to Bible study at a friend’s house and met Gail there. We fell for each other instantly and were married in 2002.

“It was suggested that Gail and I attend the two-year liturgy course run by our diocese. You can see here the start of my formation. The threefold ministry of the deacon is service to liturgy, word and charity.”

Paul White is married to Ann and has retired from working in the construction industry. Asked what he would do after his ordination, he said: “I don’t fully know, and that’s the excitement. I am at the start of a spiritual adventure.

“One thing I do know – and I hope this doesn’t sound too pious – is that I will be guided by the Holy Spirit to live out my vocation in the service of God and others. I hope and pray I can do that worthily and well.”