For Admission to Diaconate Discernment and Formation
Saint John Paul II has said that the deacon’s ministry is "the Church’s service sacramentalized." The deacon’s service in the Church’s ministry of word and liturgy would be severely deficient if his exemplary witness and assistance in the Church’s ministry of charity and justice did not accompany it. He also affirms that at the very heart of the diaconate is a calling to be a servant of the mysteries of Christ and to his brothers and sisters. These two dimensions are inseparably joined together and show the importance of the nature of the ministry which is given by ordination. (National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, 36)
Deacons are public ministers in the Church, ordained for the three-fold ministries of Word, Liturgy and Charity. At present there are about 100 deacons serving in parishes and special ministries in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Deacons minister under the authority of the Bishop and are assigned to meet the needs of the diocese.
Given the nature of the deacon’s ministry of service, discernment of a vocation to the diaconate is always engaged in cooperatively with the Church. Men who express an interest in applying for the diaconate must meet certain specific requirements. Pastor’s endorsement is mandatory for initial consideration. All men who fulfill all the initial requirements are invited to participate in Project St. Lawrence, period of discernment (Inquiry). Discernment meetings take place once a month in designated locations. After completion of the initial discernment and having gone through some scrutiny the individual may submit his application for acceptance into diaconal formation.
The Office of Diaconate Formation is looking for men who are already living a lifestyle of service to the Church and their community, men whose lifestyles of service would be further strengthened and sacramentalized by the reception of Holy Orders. In order to be considered for the diaconate, the applicant must be recommended by his pastor. Typically, the men recommended by their pastors have an attitude of Christian service in kindness and humility. The initial screening of candidates is done by the pastors who meet with the men before sending their recommendation to the Director of Diaconate Formation.
The following are the minimum requirements for invitation to Project St. Lawrence (initial discernment) and eventual admission into Aspirancy.
Canonical Prohibitions for Receiving Orders
Since Deacons are clergy (members of the hierarchy in the Church), canon 1041 applies to them. Before you make a recommendation meet with the inquirer and go through this list. I will rely on your good judgment (initial screening) in your selection of men for diaconal discernment and formation.
Canonical prohibitions (can.1041) which can lead to denial of invitation to the initial discernment and/or admission to Aspirancy include:
For more information on the diaconate or to schedule a meeting with the Director of Formation, please contact Josie Castillo at or 817-945-9314.
Deacon Rigoberto Leyva
Rev. Carmen Mele, OP