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Archdiocese ordains India's first married deacons.

The Mumbai archdiocese has ordained India's first married deacons.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India sanctioned the ordination of married deacons in 1983, but Auxiliary Bishop Bosco Penha of Mumbai said the archdiocese was the "first to exercise this."

"We want to use every help that we can get to run the church. There is such a lot of work to be done," added Penha.

The ordination of two men was concelebrated Jan. 22 by Cardinal Ivan Dias of Mumbai, formerly Bombay; his predecessor, Cardinal Simon Pimenta; and three auxiliary bishops. Holy Name Cathedral was packed to capacity.

Deacons Lloyd Dias, 74, and Elwyn De Souza, 59, will be assigned to pastoral duties in parishes but will continue to live with their families.

"This is his second marriage--to the church," said Sybil De Souza, the wife of De Souza. "The cardinal asked for my permission, and I was only glad to give my consent for him to enter the service of the church."

Deacon Dias (no relation to the cardinal) said: "This has been a blessing for me. I can now preach the word of God in the churches, which has been the greatest dream for me." Dias has worked for two decades with Penha in organizing Christian communities in Mumbai.

The bishops' conference president, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi, said dioceses are free to ordain more deacons, but the ordination of married deacons is "not a necessity" for the Indian church as a whole because it has many people serving the church. It is sending nuns and priests to Africa, the Americas and Europe.

--Catholic News Service
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Title Annotation:RELIGIOUS LIFE
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 24, 2006
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