A former Portadown man made history on Sunday when he became one of the first two Permanent Deacons in the Diocese of Dromore.
Kevin Devine and Gerry Heaney were ordained in St Peter’s Church in Lurgan.
Originally from Portadown Kevin now lives outside Lurgan. He has been married to Moya for 30 years and they have five children, Catherine, Paschal, Kevin, David and Niamh.
He was a teacher at St Patrick’s High School, Keady, for 33 years before retiring in August 2012.
A keen soccer player he played as goalkeeper for several teams in the Mid-Ulster League including St Mary’s and Annagh United and he also played for Portadown and Glenavon.
The ordination of both of them to the Diaconate was before a packed congregation which enjoyed a beautiful and moving ceremony.
Kevin has been assigned in particular to the parishes of St Peter and St Paul.
“The ceremony was absolutely beautiful,” said Kevin. “A lot of people commented how moving it was.”
He is also looking forward to his duties and has already assisted at Mass in St Peter’s and St Paul’s.
“I have been appointed to both parishes and i wanted to make an appearance,” he said.
He too was quick to highlight the part his family played during the four years of studying.
“They were very supportive of what I was doing,” he went on. “We talked about and I asked them how they felt because it was going to impact on their lives but they were happy for me to go on.
“My wife had to give her written permission for me to continue and there was a big family input into the process.”
Principal Celebrant Bishop John McAreavey said: “Kevin Devine and Gerry Heaney have been blessed in their married lives. With their wives they have been blessed with children and through the impact of their own lives they have handed on their faith to their children. Both have enriched the communities where they have lived and worked.”