Deacon discernment question


#1

Hello all!! I am new to the forum and had a question about becoming a deacon and discernment. I have been married almost 5 years and have a one year old. I am also sure my wife and I will eventually have another. For years now, I have felt an inner calling to serve The Lord more deeply. Even during spiritual dry spells, I keep coming back to this feeling of being called and I have almost always wound up looking into the Diaconate. I finally contacted my diocese and am waiting to hear back. I have been looking at information online at the requirement and also keep coming across the phrase " discern your call," or discernment. I was wondering, how does one discern a call like this? Is there a discernment 101? Haha. And when do you know you have finally heard what The Lord wants you to do?


#2

Welcome to the forum!

My discerment last about two years. Each Diocese has a different take on how long one should discern the calling. I was assigned a Spiritual Director and we started our journey. It was an amazing time full of joy and hardship as well. One should really seek the Will of God in all matters of your calling. Those considering the Diaconate first should reflect on their qualities and qualifications, and decide whether they are suited to serve. Make discernment of diaconate part of your daily prayer. Discuss this with your spouse and/or significant people in your life. Gain a SD to help in your dicernment. Read about the theology of diaconate, ministry and life of deacons. johnpaul2center.org/JohnPaulIICenter/DiaconateFormation/Inquiry/PDF1011/BIBLIOGRAPHY_deacon.pdf

Many, many, many, many prayers are suggested. :thumbsup: Good Luck and God Bless


#3

Sounds like you are discerning the call. You feel called, you pray, you come to a conclusion that God wants you to move in a certain direction, you act. Rinse and repeat for the rest of your life. You will know that God wants you to be a deacon when the Bishop lays hands on you and ordains you a deacon.


#4

[quote="aemcpa, post:3, topic:319542"]
Sounds like you are discerning the call. You feel called, you pray, you come to a conclusion that God wants you to move in a certain direction, you act. Rinse and repeat for the rest of your life. You will know that God wants you to be a deacon when the Bishop lays hands on you and ordains you a deacon.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#5

I had been thinking about it, praying on it, in much the same way you appear to be, for a year or 2. Upon an outward sign, which I could go into further if you are interested, I spoke to my Pastor, and began the formal process.

I am a "First Year Aspirant" currently in my Diocese. What that entails is that I am studying at the Seminary every Saturday. We pray the LOTH in the morning, have a class, have lunch together, have another class, and then pray the LOTH evening prayer. I have taken classes in the Old Testament, Synoptic Gospels, and 2 classes in the field of Ministry. It's a long day, and there's significant "homework".

The program is a total of 4 years, and I will also earn a Masters of Pastoral Studies degree when finished.

Outside of the classroom, we have retreats, meetings with our spiritual directors, etc. It truly becomes a family between the men in my class, and the other classes at the seminary.

We average 10 members per class - Aspirant, First year, Second year & Third year.

It is a challenge, as most of us work during the week, have children, etc. It not only takes significant dedication on your part, but your wife needs to be "on board" with it. It has a significant impact on her as well.

I know in my Diocese you may not be considered as you have a very young child, and anticipate having at least 1 more child. The Diocese would never want to come between you and your family, and that may preclude you from consideration currently.

Speak to the vocations director of your Diocese. See where it goes. Pray. Discuss it with your Deacon, your wife, your Pastor. Talk as much as you can, and listen.

Any questions, feel free to ask. I am deeply entrenched in this now and loving it.


#6

Sign up for one course.

See how you like it.

Sort of try it out.

See how you respond to being with the other students.

See how you respond to being with the teachers and instructors and faculty and staff and the bishop.

See how you like the other opportunities for spiritual growth.

See if you discover some potential of one sort or another for your own God-given talents and skills. And interests.

See how you "get into" helping out in various situations.

Every deacon is different from every other deacon.


#7

thank you all very much for the great information. it seems like such a big decision, no wonder there is a year or two of praying. :smiley:

I just keep finding myself coming back to this again and again. i figure that if i keep coming back to this then there must be a reason to at least se if God is calling me this way. and even if its not in God’s plan then i figure that a year or two of praying cant hurt.


#8

if i can ask just one more question: if there are any deacons on the board (or anyone who knows a deacon very well,) how do you like doing what you do?


#9

[quote="Trying2bssint, post:8, topic:319542"]
if i can ask just one more question: if there are any deacons on the board (or anyone who knows a deacon very well,) how do you like doing what you do?

[/quote]

"Like" doesn't come close to describing my feelings. I am ecstatic with my ministries. As I often tell friends, if I could somehow financially figure out how to support a family of 6, I would quit my regulary job and become a full time deacon in a second.

I questioned my calling right up to the time time that I felt the cold marble floor of the Cathedral against my cheek as I lay there with 46 other men on the day of our ordination. Don't question whether you are worthy of this calling, because in truth, NONE OF US ARE. Nor can we ever be. However, I felt moved to go forward and am now sure that God knew better than me.

That isn't to say that my diaconal duties don't sometimes present diffuculties, they do. Just the other day, I was torn as I sat next to a young lady weep as she presented her side of the situation in an interview seeking a decree of nullity. She left her husband of 6 years, in spite of her deep belief that marriage was permanent, because she simply couldn't take his drunken rages any more. This because she vowed, before her marriage, that she would never be like her mother who lived in an abusive and loveless relationship her entire life. Tough cases, tough duty, all for the the greater good of the Kingdom.

God bless and your ongoing discernment.


#10

I love being a deacon. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

In our area, the vocations director organizes a couple of discernment retreats every year for men interested in priesthood or diaconate ministry. Check and see if something similar is available in your area.

My first year of formation was considered a discernment year. We received lots of "overview" classes on various subjects. This gave everyone a taste of what the rest of formation would be like. We did not get to the "in depth" stuff until the second year.

"Are you called to this ministry?" That question used to drive me nuts. I didn't know the answer, but I trusted in the formation process enough to continue. I wasn't certain of my calling until my third year.

Good luck Trying2bssint. I will be praying for you.

Deacon Darryl D
Louisville, KY


#11

I am an aspirant, and we are in our first year. Unlike some other programs, our diocese only has one formation group at a time. While one group is going through formation, the next group is doing preparatory work. There are a number of prerequisites for applying, and they can be fulfilled through courses offered by the diocese or on-line through the University of Dayton. Completing all of these classes is just one part of the application, and the final step is being interviewed by our Bishop. We had 18 applicants, and 12 were accepted. Two had to drop out due to work/home issues, and we will complete our first year in May, take the summer off, and then continue in the fall.

As far as my personal discernment, I started receiving comments from others long before I ever thought about applying. I considered applying with the previous group, but it did not feel right. With this group, I was excited and at peace about applying. I am enjoying the journey, and I feel called.

DGB


#12

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