My sister-in-law told my wife a Catholic priest would be taking my brother Mike’s funeral service at the crematorium. As we were outside the chapel waiting for the cortege to arrive, I went up and introduced myself to him “Hello Father” said I “I’m Mike’s brother who is a permanent deacon in Southwark”. We exchanged pleasantries, I told him also I am part of the diaconate formation team and therefore knew some people he would know. Having mentioned names, we chatted heartily until it was time to stop.

Later that day we were at the reception and my sister-in-law said to me “and didn’t Deacon Rory do an excellent job?” It hit me like a rock, “Father” as I called him, was wearing a deacon stole, therefore he wasn’t a priest but a deacon, the same as me, and the same as the men I have in my care aspire to be. And I didn’t spot it.

Perhaps I am that widely acknowledge disgrace to my office and diocese after all!

(I’m not, I checked, it’s still libel)

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