Discernment of the Call
The first strings of a vocation to the diaconate are often explored at a personal level and usually begin with seeking information about the diaconate and formation. The pastor, the deacon and parish staff are a particular resource at this time. The inquirer may contact the Director of Diaconal Formation for an initial interview.
If the one discerning is married, he should pay particular attention to discussing a possible calling with the spouse and family. The initial information and conversations with the pastor, or deacon should assist and encourage the conversation between the inquirer and the spouse. For a married man the consent and support of the spouse is required. Both spouses need to make sure that support and consent, even at this early stage of discernment, arise from an informed understanding.
An inquiry and eventual application for entrance into diaconate formation is not just a personal and family journey. The Church must accompany it. An inquiry about the diaconate and the formation process eventually includes the diocesan Church. The Office of the Diaconate provides information sessions, exploration of the criteria for a diaconal vocation and particular counsel. When the inquirer is presented by his pastor and submits an application, the formal process for admission begins.
The Role of the Pastor and Parish Community
It is the pastor who initially presents the inquirer for consideration into diaconal formation through a letter that confirms he is a practicing Catholic of good repute and in good standing.
The Role of the Diocese
The Director of Diaconal Formation, who coordinates the selection process, arranges an interview with the Admission and Scrutinies Committee. The purpose of the interview is to assess the applicant’s level of awareness of a diaconal vocation, information and background on his family life and general aptitude for diaconal ministry. The interview must include his wife.
Discernment of Readiness for the Aspirant Path in Formation
The Admission and Scrutinies Committee will review the application of each applicant. The committee will nominate to the bishop only those applicants whom they have judged as possessing the necessary qualities for entrance and successful completion of the aspirant path. Upon reviewing the recommendation, vote, and rationale of the committee, the bishop is the one who decides whether to admit the applicant into the aspirant path. If an applicant is judged not to be ready but to be a suitable aspirant in the future, the director of diaconal formation will convey to the applicant various options for how he might prepare himself to achieve the basic entrance requirements.
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