The Advisory Board for the Diaconate of Saint Cloud has discussed the importance of vocation, or call, in regard to the Diaconate. The Lord calls people with particular gifts to service through a particular faith community. It is paramount to the welfare of the community and the diaconate that the community calls the applicant to service because certain needs of the community can be met by that applicant.
Applicants will not be accepted into the Program unless there is evidence that the community needs the service of the applicant and is willing to support the applicant through his formation period. The local pastor’s recommendation is also necessary because he will be working closely with the applicant after ordination. Because pastors often are reassigned, it is crucial that the community, through the local Parish Pastoral Council, calls the applicant to service, understands the nature of his service, and promises to support him.
The screening process, in light of the above-stated concerns, includes the following elements:
- The applicant must be between 35 and 55 years of age. An applicant may enter formation at a younger age, provided that he will be 35 at the time of ordination. The diocesan bishop may waive the upper age limit at his discretion.
- A letter of recommendation from the local pastor stating impressions about the applicant’s service in community and potential as a deacon is required. If the applicant intends to serve in a ministry other than parish ministry, he needs a letter of recommendation from that agency or organization.
- The SRI Deacon Perceiver Interview,™ an instrument containing 54 questions across 9 areas such as Relationship, Spirituality, Family, Teaming, etc., is administered. This structured interview can identify basic life themes and success patterns of the applicant. It provides an understanding of each person’s strengths, motivation, and values.
- Psychological testing will be conducted by a Licensed Psychologist to help determine emotional health and stability of both the applicant and his wife.
- A letter of recommendation from the local Parish Pastoral Council is necessary. The letter should address the willingness of the parish to support the applicant throughout his formation period and reflect some understanding of the Permanent Diaconate. The letter should also suggest various areas of ministry and needs that the local Parish Pastoral Council hopes the applicant will fulfill upon completing his formation period.
- An interview of the applicant and his wife will be conducted by the Director, Vicar of the Diaconate Program, and members of the Deacon Advisory Board. The purpose of the interview will be to determine attitudes of the applicant and his wife about the Church, pastoral care, and program requirements.
- After the interview has been completed, the Director or Vicar of the Diaconate Program will forward to the diocesan bishop a recommendation to accept or reject the application of the applicant for admission to study for the diaconate. The diocesan bishop has the final authority as to who will be accepted.