30 people from across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher have been commissioned to serve in funeral ministry.

They were commissioned during a mass held at Holy Cross Church, Lisnaskea presided over by Bishop Larry Duffy on Sunday, May 12.

These laymen and women will accompany and support families at times of bereavement and loss in terms of preparing for a funeral.

They are also trained and commissioned to lead some aspects of funeral liturgies at the church and cemetery.  Those commissioned come from nine different parishes in the diocese.

The new ministers, and those who will join them in the months and years ahead, will also assist priests and deacons in parishes as the model of the Catholic Church in Ireland undergoes a period of reflection, renewal and change in the period ahead.

The training for the new ministry has been under way since last autumn and was led by Paddy Shannon of the Down and Connor ‘Living Church’ team.

In addition, each of the ministers undertook training in Safeguarding policies and practices and were also placed for a period in their parishes before the request for commissioning was made by their parish priest.

Speaking at the Commissioning Mass, Bishop Duffy said this new ministry is a sign of real and practical participation by laity in the life of the Church.

He prayed for those undertaking this new ministry and thanked them for their generosity.

He prayed that they and all those they encounter will be blessed with a renewed faith in resurrection and new life. He also thanked all who had prepared them for this new ministry.

The initiative was coordinated and led by the Diocesan Liturgy Commission, chaired by Deacon Martin Donnelly, Enniskillen.

This project was led on behalf of the Commission by Deacon Martin, along with Eileen Gallagher, Belleek and Monsignor La Flynn, Pettigo and Lough Derg, with support from Diocesan staff members.

Expressing thanks also, Deacon Donnelly said that the Diocesan Commission was very grateful to Canon Jimmy McPhillips and the Parish of Aghalurcher for the welcoming way in which they accommodated the training over several months, and for facilitating the Commissioning Rite.