The Franciscan Friars had reason to celebrate in November. On 26 November 2021, the friars in Singapore gathered at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd for the diaconal ordination of Brothers Cosmas Francis, Crispus Mosinoh, Gerald Terence, Robin Toha and Sixtus Pitah. Due to Covid restrictions, only about 120 people were able to be physically present at the 4pm ceremony, presided over by Singapore Archbishop William Goh.
In his homily, Archbishop Goh said the Scriptures indicate who deacons are. The Book of Numbers refers to them as the Levites designated to assist priests and attend to the community, and St Paul speaks of the kind of disposition deacons must have, their role and their virtues. “A deacon has to read, meditate and even break the word. He also assists the priest in the celebration of the Eucharist in the preparation of the altar,” Archbishop Goh said. “Deacons also minister to the families. They are to be a good reflection of God’s servants serving only one Master.”
The ordination rite saw Archbishop Goh laying hands on the five friars and presenting them with the Book of Gospels, while Friars John Wong, Derrick Yap, John Paul Tan, Clifford Augustine and Aiden Peter assisted in investing them with the stole and dalmatic (an outer liturgical vestment).
For the new deacons, this is a step closer to priestly ordination. For those on the path to priesthood, the diaconate ordination usually takes place several months to a year before priestly ordination.
Deacon Cosmas and Deacon Gerald are serving in Sabah, Deacon Crispus in Penang, Deacon Sixtus in Johor Bahru and Deacon Robin in Singapore. They have begun to proclaim and preach the Gospel, lead people in prayer, preside over baptisms and marriages and conduct funeral services.