An applicant accepted into the Formation Program and supported by a faith community begins a process of formation with the three goals:
- To assist the applicant in growing spiritually
- To educate the applicant in appreciating Church traditions and history, faith expressions and symbols, Word and Sacrament
- To provide the applicant with a variety of pastoral experiences and opportunities for developing skills needed for effective diaconal service.
Acceptance in the Program is the initial step in a formation time that requires considerable dedication and energy. Anyone applying for entrance into the Program must consider carefully the question: Is this the right time to begin formation? Applicants with young children or erratic schedule demands because of job, or whose family, social, parochial or professional commitments are extensive, must be aware that involvement in the Program will require about five or more hours per week.
No one will be accepted into the Program unless it is clear that there is a community calling an individual to diaconal service and a need that can be addressed by the applicant. Furthermore, an applicant’s wife is invited to be extensively involved in the formation of her husband. An applicant’s children must also be prepared for the new role their father will be assuming.
The fundamental components of the Formation Program are Human, Spiritual, Academic and Pastoral. The diaconate formation program is a minimum of four years.
- The Spiritual Formation Program will include regular participation in spiritual direction, two (2) retreats per year and practical weekend courses including topics such as the Liturgy of the Hours and spiritual direction.
- The Academic Formation Program will be the successful completion of the Master of Arts Degree in Pastoral Ministry (or equivalent).
- The Pastoral Formation Program will include one year of supervised internship in pastoral ministry by the pastor of the applicant’s faith community or other approved supervisor or setting. In addition, applicants will be given workshops covering topics such as homiletics, sacramental preparation programs, liturgical presence and planning. This will normally take place during the fourth year of formation.