David Noval

Diocese of Copenhagen

“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37).

My name is David, and I am a candidate for the permanent diaconate. I live in Denmark, and therefore belong to the Diocese of Copenhagen. I started on the diaconate program in 2016 – the first candidate from beyond the borders of Great Britain!

First let me present the Catholic Church in Denmark. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Copenhagen is the largest in the world, if you look at the geographical area. It covers Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. To serve the approximately 42,000 registered Catholics in the diocese, we have one bishop, 50 priests and three deacons in active ministry. There are 42 parishes, 22 Catholic schools and 15 monasteries. In the area in which I live, there are two priests to serve three parishes, three schools and a convent.
We already have a Danish seminarian at Oscott (Daniel), and in the summer of 2017 we expect to have another permanent deacon ordained for the diocese who has completed his studies in the south of England.

Although I grew up in a Catholic family who had always been very active in the Church, it was only a few years ago that I became aware of the permanent diaconate. It happened when my wife and I attended the funeral of a good friend’s mother in Germany, and there met a permanent deacon and his wife. I was fascinated by the energy the deacon gave to the parish – since then I’ve thought and spoken a lot about all the good a permanent deacon could be doing in churches in Denmark. A lady in our parish (maybe she was tired of hearing me talk about it!) suggested that maybe it would be something for me, to become a permanent deacon. It came as a surprise to me. But the more I thought about it, the more real it felt – though not without a fight. I had started with a good career, our two children were becoming adults, and my wife and I were planning to enjoy life without children within a few years!

As often, the Holy Ghost had another plan. After some months of prayer and meditation, where I became more and more convinced that it was the way God was preparing for me, I had to let myself give in. The first person I had to talk to about my call was of course my wife. I remember that I was very anxious about what she would make of this. Fortunately, she said without hesitation that she thought it was a good idea. Then I could go and talk to my parish priest. He immediately called our Bishop on the phone – and so the process was started. After a few more conversations with the bishop and other priests, the bishop accepted me for formation as a deacon. Having been through some study in Germany, I then got in touch with Oscott, where I was received with open arms.

I am very glad to follow the programme at Oscott, and look forward each month to the formation days, and to meeting with the other candidates and their wives. The place gives me a big boost and it’s great to experience the atmosphere and everyone’s kindness and helpfulness. As a Catholic in Denmark – where we are very few and everyone knows everyone within the church – it’s really amazing to see the Catholic life at the centre.

Please pray for David and the other candidates on the programme, and that more men may experience a call from the Lord to the permanent diaconate.