On Thursday 9 December, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon ordained Derek Lloyd to the diaconate at Oscott College. Derek has been in priestly formation for the archdiocese for one and a half years following his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Prior to this, Derek ministered as a priest in the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool. He is 43 and originally hails from Tipton in the Black Country.
Derek studied at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, and served in Anglican parishes for a total of seventeen years. After a number of appointments, he found himself in his dream role as the Vicar of Saint Agnes and Saint Pancras Church in South Liverpool. By this point, however, Derek had grown to live with a persistent longing, a longing that never went away. Through many conversations and time spent in prayer, Derek eventually concluded, that he was being drawn into fuller communion with the Catholic Church. Derek is immeasurably grateful for everything the Church of England has been to him. Indeed, he found it acutely painful to leave his community. But the urge was so powerful and it was by conscience that he acted in the end. Early in 2020, he took the decision and approached the archdiocese. This move involved surrendering home, security and ministry. Archbishop Malcolm picked up on this in his homily, at the ordination Mass: ‘Derek, you have shown enormous fidelity to the Gospel and perseverance to the call of the Lord in your life as a priest in the Church of England. To leave that behind and enter into fuller communion has, I know, been very hard for you’.
The Archbishop preached primarily on the Deacon’s role as the guardian of the chalice. He made it very clear, that the chalice of the Lord’s blood is not a cup of privilege, but rather a cup of ‘the tears of humanity; tears of sadness and joy, disbelief and faith’. He also spoke about the deacon as the one who is attuned to the people, both in the liturgy and out in the world. Like Christ, the deacon serves all of God’s children, reaching out to those who ‘need human contact, the lost and forgotten’. Nevertheless, deacons show that God’s care is not only a sorrowful love but a joyful love, expressed most fully in Jesus’ resurrection. Derek is clearly no stranger to such service, but now he begins a new service, a service among us, as part of our archdiocesan family.
A number of Derek’s friends were able to join him and to share in his celebration together with Bishop Tom Neylon and several of our own priests who came along to support him too. During January, Derek will be on placement in the Parish of Saint Wilfrid, Widnes. Afterwards, he will return to Oscott, in anticipation of his priestly ordination, God-willing, during the summer. Please continue to pray for an increase in all vocations within our archdiocese. Let us pray that the Lord send many a faithful worker into his great and wonderful harvest.