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For Consideration and Admission to Diaconal Formation
Initial Discernment (Inquiry)
Men who are interested in discerning a possible calling to the diaconate enter a period of initial discernment known as inquiry. They will attend 3 monthly inquiry sessions lead by the coordinator of admissions to diaconate formation. Typically, the men who attend the inquiry sessions are recommended by their parish pastors and deacons because they have an attitude of Christian service in kindness and humility.
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 formation must meet certain specific requirements. After completion of the initial discernment and having gone through some scrutiny the individual may submit his application for acceptance into diaconate formation.
Requirements for Admission to Aspirant Stage of Formation
The Aspirant Stage of formation is a two-year process. In accord with Code of Canon Law, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) establishes the minimum age for ordination to the permanent diaconate at thirty-five (35) for all candidates, married or celibate. The establishment of a maximum age for ordination is at the discretion of the diocesan bishop, keeping in mind the particular needs and expectations of the diocese regarding diaconal ministry and life.
The following are the basic requirements for consideration to be admitted to Aspirant Stage of Diaconal Formation.
Age, Residency, Health and Employment
- Be at least 30 years old at the time of submitting application for admission.
- Reside in the Diocese of Fort Worth for a minimum of two (2) years
- Be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident
- Be in good health: sufficiently active and energized to endure the rigors of the formation program and later the demands of diaconal ministry
- Have a stable job and a favorable financial situation and a stable employment history
Vocational Support and Sacraments
- Must have a letter of recommendation from parish pastor and a deacon
- Have received the Sacraments of Initiation
- If a convert to Catholicism, must be at least three (3) years beyond reception into full communion in the Catholic Church
- Must be single and celibate for at least three (3) years before applying for admission to demonstrate a stable, settled life, and a history of healthy relationships
- Able and willing to accept to live a life of celibacy
- Must be in a stable and healthy sacramental matrimony of at least five (5) years.
- Enjoy the full, genuine, and active support of his wife who is willing to participate in some formation activities.
- Wife must be Catholic and be active in and in good standing with the Church and parish.
- If the Inquirer and/or his wife has a previous marriage which ended in divorce, annulment(s) must be completed, a Declaration of Nullity granted, and convalidation or sanation completed prior to initiating the discernment process.
If single or widowed:
- If widower, have at least two (2) years to heal and recover from the loss of his spouse and be willing to freely embrace celibacy.
Ministry to the Poor
- Have a verifiable record of some service to the parish community, which may include: 1) hands-on-service to those in need within his own parish, and/or in the larger community in the Diocese of Fort Worth; 2) helping the poor and homeless; 3) ministry to those in jail and prison; 4) visiting those in hospitals or confined to their homes due to illness; 5) caring for the bereaved.
Education, Faith Formation, and Background
- Have at least a high school education (diploma) or an accredited general equivalency diploma (GED), with an ability to do the required college-level academic work of the program
- If English is not the native language, must have a reasonable grasp of the English language (be able to have a basic conversation).
- Have a basic knowledge of the teachings of the Church and familiarity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible.
- Strongly recommended to have taken the foundations courses of the St. Junipero Serra Institute
- Have completed the diocesan Adult Safe Environment Awareness Training (VIRTUS) and criminal background check
- No criminal record (felony and/or misdemeanor)
- Be a mature person, in good psychological health and free of addictive behaviors
Be free from all canonical impediments and irregularities* (can. 1041) for the reception of Holy Orders
Canonical Prohibitions for Receiving Orders
Deacons are sacred ministers (members of the hierarchy). In order to minimize/avoid any possible issue during formation any men who may have incurred in any of these impediments will not be accepted even for Inquiry.
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 (wife);
- 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
Juan Rendon, DMin
Director of Diaconal Formation
Paola Quintero-Araújo, MA
Assistant Director of Pastoral Formation
Sr. Anne Frances Ai Le, OP, PhD, MATS
Assistant Director of Intellectual Formation
Dcn. Scott France
Diaconate Vocations Liaison and Coordinator of Aspirants Formation
The Diocese of Fort Worth is dedicated to a Safe Environment. We offer extensive and mandatory training for all employees and volunteers. Please contact the Safe Environment office if you need assistance or to report an abuse or concern.
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