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  #1  
Old Sep 2, '04, 1:14 pm
dmm2000 dmm2000 is offline
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Default Discerning the Deaconate

I am currently discerning the Deaconate. I have found an interesting theme in this process.

I am a father of young children, and in fact have another on the way. My wife and I understand the commitment and time needed in formation and ministry. Further, I understand and appreciate that the Church places my vocation as husband and father first. I sense the call very strongly and consistently. Also, I believe my call to be a gift not only to my family, but also to the Church.

However, there seems to be an underlying vibe I am receiving that I am too young (39). Again I appreciate all the concern for my family, I consider the time commitment less than a person obtaining a MBA or other advanded degree.

I would appreciate feedback, especially from deacons on this matter.
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  #2  
Old Sep 2, '04, 2:46 pm
deaconswife deaconswife is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Discerning the Deaconate

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmm2000
However, there seems to be an underlying vibe I am receiving that I am too young (39). Again I appreciate all the concern for my family, I consider the time commitment less than a person obtaining a MBA or other advanded degree.
We had a formation day with a gentleman who was from the National Secretariat for the Diaconate and he said that the average age of deacons is getting up towards retirement. He was trying to encourage more younger men to consider the diaconate. That said, the time commitment is more than that for an advanced degree. Yes, you will have four years of classes but after that you will have either a ministry in your diocese or parish. If your wife has no problem with the time that you will be away in formation or ministry I say go for it. In my husband's case he decided to wait until our children were older to pursue the diaconate. He felt that if this was God's will for him the call would still be there after our children got older. I can tell you now that our girls are in college he is not sorry that he did it that way.
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  #3  
Old Sep 2, '04, 8:57 pm
Detroit Sue Detroit Sue is offline
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Default Re: Discerning the Deaconate

You should investigate your diocese's position on men with young families. The Archdiocese of Detroit is not too keen on the idea. In fact, if you haven't been married ten years, they really will encourage you to apply later.

Speaking as a deacon's wife, I can tell you that the demands can be very taxing on family time. Our kids were 21 & 18 when my husband was ordained. It would have been a great difficulty for us if he had gone in while the kids were small.

However, the rewards are immense!

Our archdiocese has diaconate information meetings, which we found very helpful.

God bless,
Sue
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  #4  
Old Sep 3, '04, 7:44 am
DAWNCUROLE DAWNCUROLE is offline
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Default Re: Discerning the Deaconate

I have a little different take on this question. I was 12 when my dad started to study for the deaconate. My brother was 10, I had a sister 6 and my youngest sister was 3. I remember that it was a BIG time commitment away from the family for my dad. Also, wives were encouraged to attend as many classes as possible with thier spouses. It was a change in our family. However, we did not suffer. Our parents made sure that they made time to soend with us. In some ways it was better. They made a point of doing things as a family, of setting priorities not only for our family, but for thier marriage. The priorities they set for their marriage gave my siblings and I a great model for a good marriage. I believe it makes my dad a better deacon also. I am not saying things were perfect or that everything was always smooth, it worked for our family. I'll keep your family in my prayers.
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  #5  
Old Sep 3, '04, 7:52 am
dmm2000 dmm2000 is offline
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Default Re: Discerning the Deaconate

Dawn

Thank you, your input is very insightful. Thank you for your prayers.
I pray that the graces from my marriage will aid in ministry as a Deacon, and vice versa.
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  #6  
Old Sep 3, '04, 8:14 am
stbruno stbruno is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Discerning the Deaconate

As a deacon ordained at the age of 44, I started my studies at the age of 40. In my ordination class, 2 men had wives who were pregnant with toddlers at home. 3 men had children of grade school age. My own sons were in grade & high school at the time.

While it is a major committment both of time and talent, we all agree we wouldn't have done it any other way. Our kids already knew that we were actively involved in our parish work. Because of our involvement, people within the parish as well as family members stepped forward and volunteered to help us with babysitting, filling in places we vacated, as well as prayed for us each step of the way.
They celebrated each time we completed our way from candidacy, lector, and acolyte levels.
If God is calling you, your vocation will never waver. It will get stronger and stronger. Believe me, I am self-employed and was already putting in a 12 hour day, but it worked. Miracles happened for me as well as my fellow deacons.
The age for ordination is 35, so you meet that criteria already. Don't hesitate to make the next step.
You will remain in our daily prayers!
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  #7  
Old Sep 3, '04, 2:18 pm
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Brendan Brendan is offline
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Default Re: Discerning the Deaconate

I'm a father of 4 children, ages 6 for the oldest and the 4th is due in January.

I have been accepted into formation for the deaconate in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Having experienced it first hand, I can add some to DetroitSue's comments. While there was a lot of concern, there was also a lot of acceptance. The deacons in the program were very excited to have a person with small kids apply to the program. But they probably did a lot more discussion with me about what a time commitment it would be. Not formation really, because they were willing to be very flexible on that, but the time commitment of the life of a deacon.

My family is very supportive, a gift for which I am immensely thankful. That, and God's Grace are what allows me to answer this call.

( I'm 37 BTW)
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  #8  
Old Sep 3, '04, 3:41 pm
Deacon Tony560 Deacon Tony560 is offline
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Smile Re: Discerning the Deaconate

My class consisted of mostly older couples, with grown children and grandchildren. One younger couple was having a lot of problems with their teenage children and their relatives keep putting pressure on them to drop out. They prayed on it and stayed with the program. All has worked out for them. They now help in a priestless parish.

Good luck to you and your family.
Deacon Tony SFO
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  #9  
Old Sep 5, '04, 6:53 pm
Deacon Ed Deacon Ed is offline
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Default Re: Discerning the Deaconate

The average age of the men in my class at the start was 44. The oldest man was 62 and the youngest 37. A more significant factor than age is the age of one's children. The time commitment is far greater than an advanced degree (I've got two earned master's degrees and a doctorate so I speak from experience).

In addition to the time spent in classes, there's weekend of spiritual formation, field ministry (a significant time factor) plus meetings with the deacon director, formation director, spiritual director and, if you are lucky enough, a mentor couple.

It does put a strain on a marriage and on raising children. My children were both grown and out of the house when I started (I was 44, ordained at 48 and have served for nine years as a deacon so far). There's always the tendency to think that you'll have better control of your life after ordination, and that's not true. There are so many conflicting demands that it's hard to get a real sense of control.

I'm not trying to discourage you from the diaconate (note the spelling), but I am warning you that this is a difficult road. I, of course, feel greatly blessed that the Church has discerned my call as a deacon and confirmed it with the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Deacon Ed
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