St Anselm's permanent deacon

Stephen Khokhar, a member of St Anselm's parish, Southall was ordained a permanent deacon by Cardinal Vincent Nichols on 19 July in Westminster Cathedral.

Stephen was for many years the Southall representative on the Jesuit Parishes Forum. Apart from helping at St Anselm's he is also assistant chaplain at Heathrow Airport.

In his homily, the Cardinal said to be a deacon “is to be called to a ministry in the name of the Church, a ministry of service and proclamation.” He also reflected on recent comments by Pope Francis as well as drawing on the example of St Francis of Assisi: “Pope Francis says that the deacon is to be an apostle in his family, in his employment, in his community and on the new frontiers of our mission in the world today. He is to be an apostle of service, proclamation and charity, working with his fellow deacons, in close unity with the priests and in faithful communion with his bishop.

“St Francis was a deacon, never a priest," Cardinal Nichols continued. "And he is a fine example for our new deacons today. He had such a rich and irresistible joy in the Lord. He showed such a radical sense of service. He lived a life of total dependence on God. He is an inspiration for us all.”

Stephen was one of three men who were ordained on 19 July; the others were Justin Cross of Watford and Ian Edwards of Ealing Abbey. They will join a team of over 20 permanent deacons in the Diocese of Westminster. As well as parish ministry, they are engaged in a variety of other ministries including prison, school and hospital chaplaincies.

Photo: Cardinal Nichols with Ian Edwards (left), Stephen Khokhar and Justin Cross (far right).