I`ve never worked with a permanent deacon before but on coming to this parish in August I found we had a permanent deacon, Osaro. I thought this was a good thing as it would be useful to have help around the place especially with baptisms as I`d been over-run with them at Forest Hall.
Osaro is from Nigeria and had been in junior seminary there before transferring to the Netherlands to study with the Society of African Missions (SMA fathers). He left seminary there, married, raised a family and started training for the permanent diaconate. He finished this training in this diocese and was ordained a deacon on 18th June 2011.
As mentioned below St Joseph`s has an African Mass once a month and a few weeks ago Osaro was appointed to be diocesan chaplain to the African community.
This Sunday gone the African Mass was due to take place. Osaro informed me that a priest had agreed to come to say the Mass. However on Saturday night, at St Wilfrid`s, three men of the African group informed me that Osaro had emailed the to say he wasn`t coming back. I knew nothing about this. I hadn`t even had an email. On Sunday morning before the 9am Mass the bishop rang to tell me Osaro had decided to leave the Catholic Church and join the C of E! He hopes to be ordained to the Anglican priesthood. The African community were completely stunned.
I told people at the three Sunday morning Masses what had happened.I said we should thank God for the work Osaro did in his time here and keep him in our prayers. What does concern me though is that I suppose we are rather slow nowadays to say that we believe the Catholic Church to be that founded by Christ and entrusted to St Peter and his successors and that the fullness of truth is found in her. I suspect many young people have no idea of the claims the Catholic Church makes about herself and see all churches as much the same. It`s belief in the claims of the Catholic Church that keep me part of her when here is so much to be disheartened about.
As it happens we have alarmingly few baptisms in these parishes. However it is sad to lose Osaro and he will be in my prayers.
Osaro, if you read this would you mind returning the front door key?!