But let's not get ahead of ourselves!
The following are considered the minimum
requirements for candidates applying for admission to the Permanent Diaconate
An assumption is made that the candidate
is married with small children. Appropriate requirement adjustments will
be made for candidates who are single, and candidates who are married without
- The couple must be in a valid Catholic marriage. They must have been married
for five years, and the marriage must be stable. A man who has been divorced
and has not received an annulment will not be accepted into the deacon formation
programme. A man who has been divorced and has received an annulment and
remarried must be married in the church for at least five years before applying
to the deacon programme.
- Minimum age for application to the programme is 30 years, with the understanding
a man must be 35 years of age before he can be ordained. Maximum age for
application to the programme is 65 years.
- The man must have been a member of the Catholic Church for five years.
- The man and his wife will have a personal interview with the pastor, the
Deacon Programme Director and Bishop Pat. The man and his wife will take
the psychological exams required for entering the programme. A statement
of health from the man's doctor is required.
DEPENDENCY - If there is a history of chemical dependency on the part of
the man or wife, the individual must be a non user for two years. The individual
must be involved with some support group, i.e. AA, prayer group, etc. If
the person applying is an adult child of an alcoholic, he must have recognized
and addressed in some manner the issues related to the alcohol dependency
which affected his life.
- A person applying to the deacon programme is asked to give assurance that
if he is ordained he will be able to serve in the diocese from three to
five years. The couple must commit themselves to be present for the weekly
classes and days of recollection and retreats provided for the members of
the formation programme.
- The couple must belong to an identifiable parish community. The couple
must have shown some involvement in the church, e.g. parish council, Lector,
Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist; Marriage Encounter, Family Groups
or some other church related organization. The couple must demonstrate an
ability to work with the pastor, parish team and other parish groups. They
must be able to resolve conflicts with all parish groups.
- The man and his wife must have a clear understanding of the following:
o If married, he may not remarry if his wife dies after he is ordained.
o If single, he may not marry after ordination.
o He must be in the programme a minimum of four years before he can apply
o In general a deacon cannot expect a salary for his work. He can expect
to be reimbursed for his expenses.
o The man and his wife must have a spiritual director and meet with him
or her on a regular basis.
o Bishop Pat has established the following priority of responsibility for
those in the programme. Family responsibilities come first, job responsibilities
second, ministry and/or formation responsibilities come third.
Formation Application Requirements
The Mystery of Vocations
Our first calling from God is marked by the reception of the sacraments
of Christian initiation. Christ calls some of his disciples from this
body of believers and the Church, discerning their vocational charism,
asks the Bishop to ordain them to a service of the whole Church.
Discerning your own call is not straightforward you need the help of
your loved ones, your pastor and the community. Some of the spiritual
and evangelical qualities you should recognise in yourself are
a sound faith;
good Christian reputation;
active involvement in the Churchs apostolate;
personal integrity, maturity, and holiness;
regular participation in the Churchs sacramental
evidence of recognized, ongoing commitment to the Churchs
life and service;
participation in faith enrichment opportunities (e.g.,
retreats, days of recollection, adult education programming);
a positive and stable marriage, if married, or a mature
celibate state of life, if single;
active membership in a Christian community;
capacity for obedience and fraternal communion;
and a deep spirituality and prayer life.
The presence of these qualities, experienced in kindness
and humility, may demonstrate a call to the
Order of Deacons.