Saint Francis of Assisi’s Vocation Prayer
Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Give us a right faith, a firm hope and a perfect charity, so that we may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will. Amen
Venerable John Henry Newman’s Prayer for Discernment
God, you have created me to do you some definite service: You have committed some work to me which you have not committed to another. I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told in the next. Somehow I am necessary for your purposes.
I have a part in the great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, A preacher of truth in my own place. Fulfill your high purposes in me, I am here to serve you, to be yours. Amen
Who is a Deacon?
The deacon is ordained to share in the ministry of the diocesan Bishop, in his mission of Word, Worship and Service. He is configured to Christ, who made himself “deacon,” or servant of all. As such, the specific character or mark of his ordained ministry is service, and in a particular way, the service of charity. He represents Christ the Servant, in service to God’s people, in communion with the Bishop and his priests, and he represents for all to see, the specific diaconal dimensions of all Church ministry.
Requirements for Invitation:
a. Applicants must be 35 years of age by the time of ordination. He must also be sponsored by a parish within the Diocese. If he is a convert to the Catholic faith, he must be at least 3 years professed in the faith at the time of application and be actively involved in the parish.
b. If married, the applicant must demonstrate evidence of a stable marriage.
c. The applicant shall be physically and mentally healthy.
d. Permanent deacons must be economically stable and self-sufficient. Therefore, each applicant must have a source of income for supporting self and family. The applicant must also have an active health insurance policy/coverage for himself and for his family. He also must be enrolled either in Social Security or in an equivalent program.
e. The applicant must have pastoral involvement in the parish community. Evidence of such involvement should be found in the recommendations submitted and the applicant’s questionnaire. Such involvement must demonstrate not only leadership skills but also an ability to dialogue with others.
f. While a B.A. or equivalent degree is desirable, graduation from high school or its equivalent is required. The applicant must have an intellectual curiosity and an ability to grasp abstract concepts; in addition, he must have mastered basic skills of reading comprehension and writing.
g. Applicants are expected to complete the necessary studies during the formaiton period. Complete commitment to the assigned periods of formation throughout the program will be expected.
h. Each applicant should have an active spiritual and prayer life prior to entering into the aspirancy period.
i. The wife of the candidate must demonstrate her support and affirmation of her spouse’s decision to study for the diaconate through her active participation and attendance in the human grown component of the program and the annual retreat. She must give explicit consent to each step along the formation path.
An Overview of the Process
The Application Process:
- Interview (Candidate and Spouse)
- Psychological evaluation
- Criminal Background Check
The Aspirancy Period: This is a period of prayer and reflection to discern his personal call and the Church’s discernment of his vocation. Topics that are reflected on include: the qualities of the diaconal ministry, personal discernment, the dimensions of formation, the elements of being chosen, and the theology of the diaconate.
The Formation Period: The formation process is at least five years in length, addressing the intellectual, pastoral, spiritual and human dimensions of growth.
- Intellectual formation includes a five-year course of theological studies
- Pastoral formation includes internships in parishes and liturgical training
- Spiritual formation includes discernment, spiritual direction and an active prayer life
- Human formation includes cultivating human qualities both out of proper and due
- Growth and realization of self, and with a view of the ministry.