Office of the Permanent Diaconate

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1 Office of the Permanent Diaconate Formation and Training for Permanent Deacons: D IOCESE OF D ULUTH A Guide for Pastors 2830 East Fourth Street Duluth, MN Phone: Fax: Rev. 4/30/2015

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3 3 T ABLE OF CONTENTS Who is a Deacon? 3 What is Expected of Deacons? 3 The Ministry of a Deacon: The Parish and Beyond 4 Diocesan Standards for Selection 5 Impediments and Irregularities 6 The Role of the Pastor in Selection 7 The Role of the Pastor in Discernment 8 The Role of the Pastor During Training 9 Communication 10 Other Considerations 11 Wife and Family 11 Spiritual Direction 11 Process of Deacon Candidate Formation 12

4 4 W HO IS A DEACON? Upon restoring the Order of Deacons as a permanent ministry on June 18, 1967, Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Letter, Ad Pascendum, described the deacon as the interpreter of the needs and desires of the Christian communities, and the sign or sacrament of Christ the Lord himself who came not to be served but to serve. Most deacons, having careers outside the Church, are firmly rooted in the day to day world of family life, workplace, and community, and authentically live ordained ministry by helping others experience the transforming power of Christ. Deacons, as icons of Christ the Servant, are called to cooperate in satisfying the diverse needs of the Christian community and the world. W HAT IS EXPECTED OF DEACONS? In the Rite of Ordination for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, each deacon makes a promise of obedience to the bishop and is thereby assigned by the bishop to a parish and potentially to a service ministry outside of his parish. Deacons, ordained for service ministry or diakonia, serve the Church without pay.

5 THE MINISTRY OF A DEACON: THE PARISH AND BEYOND 5 Deacons are ordained to assist the bishop in the local church. In the Diocese of Duluth, deacons are typically assigned to their home parish. Based on a signed ministry agreement between pastor, deacon and wife, and the bishop, the bishop provides a letter of assignment to the deacon and a copy to the pastor. In keeping with their Holy Order, deacons participate in the three fold munera of Word, Sacrament, and Charity within their assigned parish community. Deacons are called to serve as ministers of the Word, in which they proclaim the Gospel, preach, and teach. Deacons are called to serve as Liturgical and Sacramental ministers. They assist at Masses and may preside at funerals, wake services, graveside services, baptisms, marriages and blessings. They prepare the altar for reception of the gifts and are ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Deacons are called to serve as ministers of Charity. They provide outreach to the homebound, those in long-term care, the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the outcast. They serve in the social arena calling forth the gifts of the community in service to others.

6 6 DIOCESAN STANDARDS FOR S ELECTION AS AN ASPIRANT Embraces the teachings of the Church and lives out The Gospel values. Has a prayerful disposition. Has a positive attitude towards the Church and is flexible in adapting to the future needs of the Church. Is open to spiritual and ministerial formation. Is formally presented for the diaconate by his pastor who, along with the local parish, supports him during formation. If a convert to the faith, baptism or profession made over 5 years prior to application. Is living within the geographical boundaries of the Diocese of Duluth as a permanent resident of the United States. If married, is in a stable and happy marriage (5 years minimum) and whose wife and children support him in pursuing the diaconate. Situations of divorce/annulment will require special approval. If single, is capable of living a celibate life. Has at least a high school diploma and is capable of college level work in theological studies. Can successfully pass a thorough criminal background check. Is no younger than 30 and no older than 59 years to enter the process. Has a stable work history. Must be physically and psychologically healthy.

7 7 IMPEDIMENTS AND IRREGULARITIES The following are considered canonical irregularities which could impede a man from being accepted into formation or from being ordained: Any form of mental or emotional difficulty, or an addiction (alcohol, other drugs, gambling, etc) that would affect one s ability to function properly as a minister of the Gospel, and a review of any treatment received. Rejection of an essential element of the Catholic faith. Total rejection of the Christian faith. Association with a group that does not accept fully the leadership of the Holy Father, the teachings of the Church, or their communion with the rest of the Catholic Church. Attempted a marriage, civil or religious, while in Holy Orders or while bound by a perpetual vow of chastity. Attempted a marriage while married to another, or attempted a marriage with a woman bound by a valid marriage or by a public perpetual vow of chastity. The commission of a homicide. Involvement, in any way, with procuring an abortion. Attempted suicide Serious, intentional, and malicious physical injury of self or another person. Had a vasectomy Performance of any actions which are reserved to those who are in Holy Orders. Cf Canon 1041

8 8 T HE ROLE OF THE PASTOR IN SELECTION... The pastor plays a key role in the referral, selection and formation of men discerning a call to the permanent diaconate. Pastors are usually one of the first to formally discuss a vocation with a potential candidate. As such, their support, as well as their honesty, can greatly assist in the discernment of a vocation. Pastors are encouraged to attend the Deacon Information Night, that is typically scheduled in May, with men and their wives whom they wish to recommend for discernment to the permanent diaconate. THE LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION An essential component of the application process for the permanent diaconate is a letter of recommendation from the inquirer s pastor. The pastor s letter of recommendation should include a reflection on the ministerial gifts of the inquirer and specifically how they fit the model of diaconal ministry. Pastors should ensure that the men they recommend meet the minimum guidelines set forth on the previous pages.

9 T HE ROLE OF THE PASTOR IN DISCERNMENT... The interest a pastor offers someone discerning a possible vocation can have a major impact. Here are a few initial questions you may ask a potential candidate: 9 What parish ministries have you been involved with? How often do you pray alone and with your family? Have you discussed this vocation with your wife and children? Do you have the time and resources to commit to five years of formation? Do you see anything in the general criteria that may pose a problem? Are there any irregularities that would impede you from receiving Holy Orders? IN ASSESSMENT... The pastor will be required to complete a confidential evaluation form prior to acceptance into formation and on an annual basis.

10 10 T HE ROLE OF THE PASTOR IN FORMATION Regularly scheduled meetings, every four to six weeks, with your Deacon Candidate during formation is critical for the candidate to feel your support and receive your guidance. In the second and third years of formation, candidates are expected to complete a variety of "practica" which will require both supervision, cooperation and approval of the pastor. If appropriate, inclusion in staff gatherings and meetings may also be helpful. SUPERVISION... In seeking the most accurate understanding of a candidate s effectiveness, the candidate must show an ability to work collaboratively with the pastor and parish staff, and be of service to pastor, parish and parishioners. This can be greatly aided by the relationship between pastor and candidate. The pastor is the direct supervisor of the candidate in the parish. The Director of the Permanent Diaconate, along with classroom instructors, are also responsible for the assessment of the candidate in formation. Feedback on each candidate is provided to the bishop by a year end evaluation statement developed by the presbyteral representative for the diaconate and the director of the permanent diaconate.

11 11 C OMMUNICATION WITH THE CANDIDATE IN FORMATION A candidate in formation is expected to keep in contact with his pastor to discuss: requirements of the formation program; a schedule for successful completion of the requirements; any concerns regarding meeting the requirements for completion of the practica. WITH THE DIACONATE OFFICE You can expect the following communication from the Diaconate Office: Request for recommendation for admission to Aspirancy. Notice of acceptance or deferment of application. (This step assumes that the initial screening allowed the inquirer to complete an application). Notice regarding deferment of Candidacy. Requests for annual evaluations. Notifications regarding parish practicum requirements. Notification of any difficulties in formation.

12 12 O THER CONSIDERATIONS WIFE AND FAMILY Wives are required to attend all formation events that Aspirants/Candidates attend. SPIRITUAL DIRECTION Beginning during the Path of Aspirancy, spiritual direction is required. Aspirants/candidates must have a spiritual director who is a priest residing in the Diocese of Duluth and approved by the bishop. An aspirant s/candidate s pastor may NOT act as the Spiritual Director for a candidate from his parish. A recommended reference book for pastors: 101 Questions and Answers on Deacons by William T. Ditewig THANK YOU! Your prayers, support, time, and encouragement for men discerning God s call to the permanent diaconate, as well as for their wives and families, are greatly appreciated!

13 FORMATION SCHEDULE Meet one weekend per month 13 September April May Retreat Weekend June Summer Study Week (Monday Friday) Candidates and wives are required to attend all formation events. A candidate is required to meet with his pastor every 4-6 weeks. Candidates are assessed a $100 book fee during years I, II and III Weekend Schedule FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY 8:15 Mass Morning Prayer 8:00 Morning Prayer 9:00 Doctrinal Session 8:30 Pastoral Session 12:00 Lunch 9:45 Brunch 5:00 Rosary Prayer 1:00 Doctrinal Session 10:30 Pastoral Session 5:20 Gather/Meal 4:30 Mass 12:00 Departure 6:20 Evening Prayer 6:00 Evening Meal 6:35 Empty Cup 6:40 Evening Prayer 7:15 Session 7:00 Evening Session 8:45 Night Prayer 8:45 Night Prayer Summer Study Week Monday 9:00 a.m. Friday 3:00 p.m. The summer sessions introduce candidates and wives to a wide variety of services that at some point will likely intersect a deacon s ministry. The intent of this is to help broaden a candidate s knowledge of areas of service provided by the diocese and local communities. Regular components include Morning, Evening and Night Prayer and Daily Mass. Each candidate and his wife will participate in a year end review regarding their participation in formation. Second and third year candidates participate in Mass serving as servers and readers.

14 14 Formation Process Permanent Diaconate Parish Financial Responsibility Period of Inquiry one Saturday per month, September to April $0 Path of Aspirancy one Saturday per month, September to April $500 and Spiritual Direction, August Retreat Day Installation to Candidacy Year I Doctrinal Studies and Spiritual Direction $1500 Identify Parish Mission/Ministry Project Year II Doctrinal Studies, Pastoral Visitations, $1500 and Spiritual Direction Develop Parish Mission/Ministry Project Installation to Lector Year III Doctrinal Studies, Pastoral Visitations, Homiletics, $1500 Parish Ministry Practica, and Spiritual Direction Implement Parish Mission/Ministry Project Installation to Acolyte Year IV Five day Spiritual Retreat for Candidate in $700 preparation for Ordination Training in Liturgical Ministry, Solidify Parish Ministry, Spiritual Direction, Develop Ministry Agreement with Pastor Ordination Post Ordination A three-year commitment to an ongoing formation program for recently ordained Parishes will be assessed expenses for required continuing formation events, clergy conference and annual retreat (deacons and wives) with the same allowance stipulated for priests. The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (2005) is the normative guide for the permanent deacons in the Diocese of Duluth.

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