‘Christ’s love overcomes physical distance’ – Leonard Madden Looks Forward to his Ordination as Deacon
Leonard Madden will be ordained a Deacon by the Archbishop on Sunday September 20 in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. God’s call continues to be answered in the midst of a global pandemic and while the number of people who can be in the cathedral on the day will be restricted, the Service of Ordination will be livestreamed on the cathedral’s webcam for all to join (link at the bottom of the page). Leonard will serve as a Deacon in Blessington Union of Parishes. Here he writes about his call to ordination.
I grew up near Clonakilty, in West Cork. I studied English and Philosophy in UCC, and later taught in the Department of English. As I matured in faith, I found myself nourished by the pastoral element of teaching, and for this reason, taught in UCC’s Disability Support Service and ACCESS programme which allowed me the privilege of working with disadvantaged students and students with special needs.
While in UCC I met my wife, Catherine, and we became involved in the community of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. We moved to Celbridge in 2011, and have been happily settled there ever since. Shortly after our move, we began to worship in Christ Church Cathedral, and this soon became our spiritual home. As a result of the Cathedral’s emphasis on extending welcome to strangers, I was invited to serve there as an acolyte, and, later, as a liturgical verger. I was fortunate, when a verger, to have the most gentle and careful of teachers in Freddie McKeon, who will have been known to many in the united dioceses. During this time I was working in the HSE, and, later, in the Teaching Council, and volunteered with Fáilte Isteach, teaching conversational English to people who have newly arrived in Ireland, and also began to attend meetings of the Fellowship of Vocation/Exploring Ministry. Also, in the meantime, Catherine began to work in the RCB, as the Synod Officer.
Having completed the foundation course, and following the Selection Conference, I began training in CITI in 2018. Since then I have had the pleasure of getting to know ordinands who have come not only from scattered points on this island, but also people who have originally come from further afield – from Latvia, Canada, the U.S., and South Africa. The experience of ministry made possible by placements organized by the Institute – in the parish of Killiney–Ballybrack; in Abbey Street Methodist Church (Dublin Central Mission), Blachardstown and Lucan, and in Kilternan parish – has been both challenging and immensely rewarding.
I am now looking forward to spending the coming year as deacon intern with Canon Leonard Ruddock and the community of the Blessington Union of Parishes. It will be a very different time to that which I had imagined at the beginning of the last academic year – one small example is that, with Kildare having been in local lockdown until recently, I was not sure when I could begin my placement. Getting to chat to parish members face–to–face won’t be as straight–forward as normal, and, of course, pastoral visits and liturgical worship have looked very different for all in the Church since March. That said, I am excited to be entering this new phase of ministry with faith in the promise that Christ is with us always, and joyful that He gathers us in a love that overcomes physical distance so that none of His people is ever truly alone.
You can watch the Service of Ordination of Deacons on the Christ Church Cathedral webcam on Sunday September 20 at 11am: https://christchurchcathedral.ie/worship/video-stream-1/