Office of the Permanent Diaconate
Please click here for the secure webpages for Permanent Deacons.
For those who are working to complete their applications to the Deacon Formation Program, please click here to access the supplemental letters and forms needed to finalize your application.
Applications are only handed out at an Inquirers’ Information Night. You must have participated in an information night or received the information night information directly from the Director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate.
For those who have already been invited to participate in our DiaconateAspriancy Program, please click here for the secure webpage.
The Diaconate Aspirancy Program starts by attending an Inquiry Night in which interested individuals gain more knowledge of what it means to be a Deacon and what is required to become one. The next Inquiry Nights will be held in September and October of 2023. After applying and being accepted in the Diaconate Aspirancy Program, there is a period of more intense discernment. During this period, the aspirants attend monthly sessions on Saturday along with the Diaconate Aspirancy Team. Both the aspirants and team use these sessions to help their discernment as to whether the aspirants should move forward into the Diaconate Candidacy Program.
For those who have been invited to participate in our Diaconate Candidacy Program, please click herefor the secure webpage.
The Diaconate Candidacy Program is currently under review and revision.
The Diaconate Candidacy Program begins after the Diaconate Aspirancy Program ends. There are four essential dimensions for formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. These dimensions promote the formation of the whole person and are interrelated to achieve a continual integration of objectives in the life of each participant and in his exercise of ministry.
There are four aspects of human maturity that are considered during formation:
- Formation in the human virtues,
- the capacity to relate to others,
- affective maturity including psychosexual maturity and health, and
- training in freedom, which includes the education of the moral conscience.
Deacons, above all, must be persons who can relate well to others.
The first goal of spiritual formation is the establishment and nourishment of attitudes, habits, and practices that will set the foundation for a lifetime of ongoing spiritual discipline. A man must demonstrate he lives a life of mature Christian
spirituality. The spiritual dimension of formation should “affirm and strengthen” this spirituality. The spiritual dimension of formation, therefore, should assist the participant in assessing the depth and quality of his integration of personal, family,
employment, and ministerial responsibilities. Further, it should assist his growth in self-knowledge, in his commitment to Christ and his Church, and in his dedication to service, especially to the poor and those most suffering. A strong spiritual life and a realistic
commitment to serve people converge in the continual transformation of the participant’s mind and heart in harmony with Christ.
The intellectual dimension of formation must communicate a knowledge of the faith and church tradition that is “complete and serious,” so each participant will be prepared to carry out his vital ministry. The commitment to study, which takes up no small part of the time of those preparing for ordination as a deacon, is not an external and secondary dimension of their human, Christian, spiritual, and vocational growth. In reality, through study, especially the study of theology, the future deacon assents to the Word of God by growing in his
spiritual life and prepares himself to fulfill his pastoral ministry.
Deacons must first understand and practice the essentials of Christian doctrine and life before they can communicate them to others in a clear way in their ministries of word, liturgy, and charity. Sacred Scripture is the soul of the program. The other branches of theology are structured around it. Liturgical studies are given prominence, as the participants are prepared to lead the faith community in prayer and sacramental life. Preaching, with its preparation and practice, requires a significant segment of time in the program of study.
This criterion focuses the preparation and presentation of a systematic, comprehensive, and integrated intellectual formation, which is faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. This integrated intellectual formation is meant to support and prepare the deacon for his primary ministerial roles of word, liturgy, and charity, Based on Scripture and Tradition, the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the General Directory for Catechesis of the USCCB. Formation takes into account this theological and practical content:
- Introduction to sacred Scripture and its authentic interpretation; the theology of the Old and New Testaments; the interrelation between Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium; the use of Scripture in spiritual formation, preaching, evangelization, catechesis, and pastoral activity in general.
- Introduction to the study of the Fathers of the Church and an elementary knowledge of the history of the Church.
- Fundamental theology, with illustration of the sources; topics and methods of theology; presentation of the questions relating to revelation and the formulation of the relationship between faith and reason, which will enable the participant to explain the reasonableness of the faith.
- Dogmatic theology, with its various treatises: Trinity, creation, Christology, ecclesiology including the Church as a communion of churches (Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches), ecumenism, Mariology, Christian anthropology; sacraments (especially theology of the ordained ministry), and eschatology.
- Christian morality in its personal, familial, and social dimensions, including the Church’s teaching on sexuality, the social doctrine of the Church, and health care ethics.
- Spiritual theology, the spiritual traditions of the Church as applied to one’s own spiritual journey, and the spiritual life of the faithful.
- Liturgy and its historical, spiritual, and juridical aspects, with particular attention to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and to the liturgical rites the deacon will celebrate.
- Canon Law, especially canonical considerations pertaining to rights and obligations, diocesan structures, preaching, sacraments and sacramentals, and the administration of temporal goods.
- Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue principles, norms, and dimensions in pastoral ministry.
- Theology of Catholic evangelization: “evangelization of cultures and the inculturation of the message of faith,” multicultural expressions of the faith, and missiology.
An integral formation must relate the human, spiritual, and intellectual dimensions to pastoral practice. It should strengthen and enhance the exercise of the prophetic, priestly, and servant-leadership functions—deriving from his baptismal consecration—already lived and
exercised by the participant in diaconal formation. His is taught how to proclaim the Christian message and teach it, how to lead others in communal celebrations of liturgical prayer, and how to witness to the Church in a Christian service
marked by charity and justice.
The pastoral dimension of formation pays particular attention to these elements.
- The Church’s Ministry of the Word—Proclamation of the word in the varied contexts of ministerial service: kerygma, catechesis, preparation for the sacraments, homiletics—both in theory and practice, evangelization and missiology.
- The Church’s Ministry of Liturgy—Liturgical praxis: celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, service at the altar.
- The Church’s Ministry of Charity and Justice—Educating and helping in the exercise of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy by the Church; fostering by facilitation, motivation, and organization the Church’s ministry of charity and justice, and the preferential option for the poor.
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