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For Admission to Diaconate Discernment and Formation
The Ministry of the Deacon
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.
Admissions & Discernment
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.
Basic Requirements for Admission to Initial Discernment and 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.
New Pre-requisite for Admission to Diaconate Formation
The completion of two years of formation in the St. Junipero Serra Institute is now a pre-requisite for all interested in being considered for the Deacon Cohort 2024. Please contact the Diocesan Catechetical Office for more information about the institute.
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:
- Insanity, a diagnosed mental illness or addiction.
- Commission of apostasy, heresy or schism.
- Being ordained or in perpetual vows as a member of a religious order.
- Being married outside of the Church or being in an invalid marriage.
- Commission of voluntary homicide.
- Performing, financing, procuring or cooperating in an abortion.
- Attempting suicide.
- Self-mutilation including vasectomy or tubal ligation.
- Impersonation of an ordained minister.
- Involvement in any activity that would be unbecoming to the clerical state or that would bring scandal to the Church.
Note: For more information on the diaconate or to schedule a meeting with the Director of Formation, please contact Josie Castillo.
Director of the Permanent Deacon Formation
Dcn. Rigoberto Leyva
Coordinator of Pastoral Field Formation
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