Hello!! I posted on this forum a year or two ago about possibly being called for the Diaconate. To make long story short I did pray about it and thought I had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t for me. I freely admit that maybe I did not pray as much as I maybe should have. What is promoting me to post this is I keep coming back to the emails I got from my diocese with all the Diaconate information, I keep reading about the Diaconate, and generally just keep coming back to thinking if whether I should pray about my decision again or not. I was wondering if there are any deacons on the board that might be kind enough to share their experiences about how they were called and how they knew they received a confirmation from Christ to enter the Diaconate. If you don’t want to post then a PM is fine. A little about me I am 34 years old, married with 2 boys. One is Three, the other is 4 months (yes I am sleep deprived) thank you!
OK, so I’m not a Deacon, but I am in a parish with 5 of them.
Your family is so young, the Diaconate training alone would be very difficult, and once a Deacon you would be away from your growing children a lot.
Our Archdiocese asks those men to wait until their children are much older to pursue it, as much as they would love someone with enthusiasm and youth.
In short, you may be called to it…but perhaps later would be good for you and your family. Your wife has to also agree to it as well. They will ask her opinion.
God bless you.
I am a Diaconate Candidate, and I am wondering if you have talked to your Pastor about this. I also wonder if you have a Spiritual Advisor. Both can help you with your discernment.
I am a deacon candidate. I thought about being a deacon for a good 25 years before I applied. Now, I couldn’t be happier.
God is patient.
I hope that you continue discernment and seek spiritual direction if you are not already seeing one. As has already been said, the impact on your young family is something to think about. There is no doubt that formation classes, retreats and activities will take time away from your wife and children. If you are ordained you will need to work hard to balance family, work and your vocation as a deacon.
I do know of deacons who have families as young as yours and there is a member of my class who took a 1 year hiatus in formation when his child was born. That being said the priority must be your family (your primary vocation) first.
Pray for me as I will for you. And please keep us posted.
Everyone’s situation is different and mine is fairly unlike yours, so I don’t know how much help I can be. I never considered a calling a to the diaconate. It wasn’t until I was in my late 40s with four teen and preteen children that our deacon mentioned to me that he thought I would be a “good deacon” and encouraged me to consider answering the call at the next calling forth by the diocese. I ignored him. About a month later our pastor stopped me and said pretty much the same thing. I said “you have been talking to deacon Rick, huh?” The pastor replied “well yes, but not about you.” I didn’t believe him, and ignored him too. A couple of weeks later my wife asked me whether I ever thought about applying to the diaconate. I accused her of being in conspiracy with our Pastor and Deacon Rick. She denied it. I doubted her, and ignored her too. The next Saturday morning at our weekly men’s group meeting, several guys said they thought I should apply for the diaconate. I said: “c’mon, you guys are all in kahoots!” They claimed to not know what I was talking about. Finally, on my way home from work one day, and all these people urging me on being on my mind, I stopped into the church, kneeled down in front of the tabernacle and told God: “OK, I hear you, I will give it a try, but if at any time it isn’t right you need to let me know that too.”
Throughout formation, (and I have said this before on this forum so pardon me if you heard this) I told everyone that I wouldn’t be sure about this calling until I felt the cold marble of the Cathedral floor against my cheek. That is when it was “confirmed” for me. See, God never let me know it wasn’t right.
I couldn’t be happier.
I am finishing fourth year of diaconate studies with one more to go. Is it hard? Yes. Do we have to spend a lot of time studying, writing papers, reading loads of books, etc.? Yes. Do some of us have small children? Yes (in fact, myself and two other gents in my class have actually had new babies during this process/well, my wife had the baby!)
In other words, life happens and will continue to happen and if you never make the decision to at least see what the decision holds for you, then it will pass you by. It is actually quite sad that younger men are not going into the diaconate here in the US as in other parts of the world. Did you know that the average age of deacons in the US is 62? The other parts of the world? 42!
We need to get beyond this thinking of “I’ll do it when I retire and my children are too old.” Maybe by then you’ll be too old! THe witness of younger men with lovely families is great for everyone in the church. The deacon with a wife and young children is a wonderful showing of Christ’s love for the church and for his people.
If you feel the call, ask around, ask other deacons in your parish, talk with your priest and if your wife says it’s OK (because trust me, the diocese WILL ask her if it’s OK with her), then I say go for it and apply. Check it out. You can always drop out or take a year off if you absolutely need to but the people you will meet along the way will become like brothers to you for eternity.
I know I feel that way about the other men and their wives in my class. Is it difficult? Yes. But life is challenging and serving others in this way might be the best thing you would ever do in your life and in the lives of all others you may touch by your ministry…
Thank you all very much for the replays and PMs. I definitely received so many great answers. It turns out that this weekend in my parish that there is a priest coming to my parish from the Archdiocese Vocations office to talk about the priesthood and religious life, including the diaconate!! Whether or not that’s a sign, I’m not too sure yet, but I figure it can’t hurt to listen and inquire about the diaconate. Thank you all very much for the responses. I’m excited to hear what he has to say.