BY Ryan McDougall | December 14 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Hopes that workshop can boost deacon numbers

There are hopes that a series of liturgical music workshops for deacons can lead to a boost in numbers applying for the diaconate.

Following requests from Scottish deacons to enhance their knowledge of the musical side to their parish duties, a two-day course was offered at the Conforti centre in Coatbridge to teach the men to sing in different styles which will help them at Mass, weddings, funerals and other services.

David Meiklejohn, national director of liturgical music for the permanent diaconate, and his wife Liz, organised the workshop, which is the first of many.

“Some of the deacons had said to us that there’s never enough time for training in musical liturgy and, although they do some prep at Mass, there’s never enough time for any extra training,” Mr Meiklejohn explained.

“They asked about putting on some extra workshops and we felt we should respond to that.

“It’s also an opportunity for people who are already deacons to mix with student deacons who are in training so that they can network as a lot of them don’t know each other.”


Positive response

The deacons who attended applauded the initiative, and there are plans to have further events in various parts of Scotland, with calls for similar events to be held for priests.

“A big thing for many of the deacons there was their confidence,” Mr Meiklejohn said.

“Many of them said things like, ‘someone told me when I was younger I couldn’t sing, so I haven’t tried since.’

“Like anything else, you can solve these problems—you’ve just got to analyse the issue and then they get better at it.

“Some of the Deacons will say things like, ‘I’m tone deaf!’ There’s no such term, really.”


Future vocations

The initiative, deemed a ‘great success’ by Mr Meiklejohn, could also make the idea of becoming a permanent deacon more appealing, he said.

“Maybe some more guys would think about going for the permanent diaconate because of this.

“Although having more permanent deacons wouldn’t solve the issue of the shortage of priests, maybe it would help bridge the gap.”

Deacon Graham Wylie, the national director for the permanent diaconate for Scotland, worked on the initiative, and oversaw the processes that brought it to fruition.

He said: “I’m going to look at how we can facilitate it all over Scotland in future.”


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