[quote="TuAutem, post:8, topic:246669"]
Thank you Dcn Lapey for that informative reply. I have another question (for you or others who may know), which is really for my own discernment, but which may be something the OP will need to take into consideration as well:
What are your thoughts on the advisability of pursuing ordination to the diaconate with small children? Are the two vocations compatible, or is it wiser to focus on my vocation as a father first, and put off the possibility of the diaconate for when they are older?
Clearly I'm not that far into my investigation of this, but whether I should seriously look at investigating further kind of depends on the answer to this question, in my case.
There are different schools of thought on entering formation with young children. In my experience my wife and I had two kids when we started, 14 & 11 year old boys. Along the way we adopted a 15 year old daughter. We now have a 19 year old boy, a 17 year old daughter, and a 16 year old son. My wife and I considered entering formation a few years earlier, but chose to wait for the kids to be a little older.
But I will tell you, I have no regrets about bringing the little ones along for the ride. They have benefited greatly from the education and formation we have gained. My oldest son is considering the seminary; I know that our journey and way of life has promoted that being an option for him. This journey has changed my family, both immediate and extended. So I would say yes, the two vocations are compatible.
Many dioceses require kids to be of a certain age, check to see if yours does. The decision may not be yours for now. If it is your decision, you and your wife that is, please keep in mind the extra time away from your family that is required of formation. There will be weekend retreats and possibly overnight stays for classes occasionally. We had class weekends; one weekend a month Friday night through Sunday about noon. My wife came with me to these weekend classes for the first three or so years. When we adopted the girl, she required a full time mom so my wife dropped out of the formation.
I would suggest that if you are able to enter with your children at a young age, don’t discount the opportunity because of the kids. They will be happy about this and be elated that you are working towards this goal. Let them be a part of it, you will see a change in your entire family that will bring you joy and peace. And if it seems to put a strain on your fathering and/or being a husband, you can always leave formation to continue at a later time.
As far as being in active diaconate ministry with kids at home, I will say that mine love the fact that their dad is “the deacon” at our home parish. My pastor is very understanding that I have a family and a full time job, so it works very well. We are working now towards liberating our selves from the need for me to make a big salary at my current job so I can work in ministry full time. We’ll have to learn to live on much less than we do now so it’s still some time away.
Anyway, yes this can be done with small children, but let that decision be made with much discernment either way.
Hope this helps!!!