Did God just asked me to become a permanent deacon?


#1

Two years ago I experienced a wonderful experience in the Catholic church called Cursillo. Ever since, I’ve been struggling with my faith, I was already a fallen away Catholic but this Cursillo experience made me return to the church. When I say returned to the church I don’t mean to say that immediately I’m a full blown Catholic or whatever you want to call it. Slowly I’ve been returning but it’s been a struggle because of my prideful ways and because sometimes I feel like I’m not worthy to be with God. Two years ago I started reading the bible and I can’t stop reading, I feel that I want to learn more and more. Not until recently, I started receiving the holy Eucharist. I still feel like there’s something missing in my life, and I know that it is God because I’m still struggling, I feel like it’s really hard to let go of my pride and other sins that make me a bad Catholic. I know that we’re not all perfect but for some reason I still feel unworthy.

Well, on Sunday (Pentecost Sunday) I was finally put to the test about my bible and catechism knowledge. At work, at the beginning of my work shift, I was attacked (faith wise) by a recently converted protestant. I felt that I did okay and answered every question he gave me. He quoted me passages of the bible where he thought (or where he was taught in his new church) that gave proof that Mary was not important. He tried to attack me about baptism, the pope, the Virgin Mary, the cross (that he does not believe in a cross that has the body of Christ). I think I did okay. He finally told me that he is confused with his faith and wants to go to the Christ’s real church and that’s why he is looking for answers, talking to members of different churches. I told him that I just beginning my learning experience but that I was going to give him all the material I’ve been reading and listening to (Catechism, Scott Hahn’s audio tapes, etc.). I told my wife and my wife thinks that maybe God wanted me to show him the correct path.

Well, today, my family and I went to visit my priest at his home because he had surgery last week and he is still sick. We were talking with him about various topics, not only church related but about other things. Then my priest commented that I should become a permanent deacon. I had already thought about this vocation and researched it but I decided not to because of my job and my family duties, too much responsibility. But the priest told me that it was not that hard and there were some duties but not that many. He told me to think about it.

Was this a calling from God for me to become a Deacon??? Can I say no? Or do I have to? I know that God sometimes knocks on your door and if you don’t answer he might never come back. I’m curious about this vocation and maybe it is God calling me. I’m married, I have a 9 year old daughter, I’m 34 years old and plan on having more kids.


#2

I suggest talking to a Deacon. You might or might not have a calling, but even if you do, it may or may not be right now. It might not “be hard work” on e you become one, as the priest day, but it’s a huge commitment to Christ and the Church. I just attended a Deacon Ordination, in which it took 7 years for them to become Ordained.

I’m not trying to talk you out of it, as I too think about it often. But I would suggest speaking to a Deacon and praying on this.

God luck and God Bless


#3

It might be a call, but you should pray and learn about the vocation to be sure. Seriously. And get a spiritual advisor (you’re required to have one in the diaconate program anyway - the spiritual advisor can help you discern). When I was planning to apply for the permanant diaconate program last year (I was not accepted for the program this time - space in the diaconate training programs is extremely limited), my pastor told me that one sign of a call is that the thought persists in your mind for at least a year.

The diaconate program is 4 years long, and the wives are asked to be active participants in the prospective deacons’ studies. And, you can’t become a deacon unless your wife approves. Seriously - you need her letter of support, along with a letter of recommendation from your pastor, and all of the documentation of your sacraments - plus whatever other things they ask of you just to apply. The minimum age for permanent deacons at ordination (by canon law) is 35 years old - that won’t be a problem for you, but still. Regardless, as a married man, your first vocation is to your wife and children. Deacons who get divorced are relieved of their duties - and if a deacon’s wife dies, he may NOT remarry, unless he asks to be laicized (there are single men who become permanent deacons - they take the same vow of chastity that transitional deacons take).

Regardless, if you continue to feel over time that God might truly be calling you, talk to your wife and your daughter. If they approve, then find out when the next classes for diaconate formation are occuring in your diocese and apply for the classes.


#4

Pace yourself.

I think you should probably spend more time getting to really understand the Catholic faith and your own spirituality. You said in your post that you still have your own questions, concerns and struggles. Work through them and make progress with your own spirituality and spend time right now with your current vocation as husband and father to your daughter. You’ve got plenty of time to become a permanent Devon but right now, you may need to invest more time in your family. You’ve got to focus on the important task of providing not only the material stability but also the spiritual leadership of your young family.

I’m not trying to discourage you. I just know it will be difficult to work, take classes for the diaconate, raise a family and maintain a household. Many permanent deacons wait until their kids have left the nest before taking steps towards ordination.

Pray, study, seek spiritual counsel, talk with your wife, and pray some more. God will give you the answers you need.


#5

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength & wisdom in your discernment.


#6

That the idea is in your head and that someone appears to be confirming it may be an indication of a vocation. You must continue to pray over this and ask God for clarity in the matter. However, as the saying goes, “he who has himself for a spiritual director has a fool for a client.” No one should ever attempt to discern a calling without the help and guidance of a competent spiritual director.


#7

I have to echo the thoughts of praying on this and see if the desire or the calls are still there over the longer haul. Becoming a permanent deacon is not a part time thing. It is like being a dad and a husband… those are both full time things as is the diaconate.

I know I first started to think of becoming a permanent deacon about 10 years ago. I have been praying about it and the thoughts come and go. This past year the thoughts have been stronger and I am taking some steps at getting a spiritual adviser and some other things. I pray the Office daily, because I know if I were to become a Deacon, I would be required to do so, and also because I feel it brings me closer to God and what he more than likely wants me to be. I have also talked about this a lot with my wife, as she needs to be able to support me 100% on this, which she does.

I guess the short answer is I am sure it may be a calling, but as they say, many are called, but few are chosen… you have to discern it and find out what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do. Maybe it is the diaconate, or maybe it is, but a few more years down the road (or not at all).

I wish I had a better answer for you than that, but I’m afraid that is the best I can do. My prayers are with you that you will be helped along this journey and that you will have peace and serenity in your heart as I would want to have in my own heart.

YBIC - John


#8

Thanks for all your replies and all your prayers. I’ve been thinking about this vocation all day today. About a year ago that’s when I started thinking about it because during mass our priest introduced the new deacon candidates and asked if anybody wanted to become deacons. I researched it but then I thought I couldn’t be a deacon because I did not feel worthy. Now yesterday when my priest told me that I should become a permanent deacon, I started thinking about it more. My wife even told me when we got home last night that I should do it. I told my wife that I read that she also had to attend to some retreats with me and that she was supposed to support me and she said that she was willing to support me.

I’m interested in serving God in this vocation but I think that I’m going to wait about a year or two. I’ve been reading the bible and the catechism but, other than my Cursillo retreat, I have not attended any other retreats since high school. During this year or two I plan on studying the following:

The Bible
Catechism
Vatican II
Cannon Law
The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons
Pope John Paul II’s Rosarium Virginis Mariae
Pope Francis’ Lumen Fidei
Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium

I also plan to attend Church on Sundays and Days of obligation and to participate in the Eucharist

Do confession at least monthly
Pray the rosary
Attend some church retreats

and just be a better Christian overall.


#9

May I add that you should start praying the complete divine office daily, as Deacons are required to do.

God Bless


#10

Hi Gabbanelli911,

With the ‘Latest Threads’ so spammed up, I searched for ‘Cursillo’ and your post came up 1st.] :slight_smile:

You said that the Cursillo was a good experience, in so many words; does your diocese’s Cursillo have Ultreya-type meetings? I have been going to those since my [1st] Cursillo. I was in a group reunion for years as well.

Disclaimer: I am not a deacon, but many permanent deacons that I know got their “nudge” to a calling to the Diaconate by attending a Cursillo weekend, but they also attended Cursillo Ultreya’s and most, if not all, were part of a group, i.e. a weekly Group reunion. I would suggest you try those.

I’ll say a prayer or two for you this weekend. Please do the same for me! The Diocese of Gary’s Men’s Cursillo No.267 starts tonight, and I have been blessed to be on the team hosting the Cursillo. So, I may not answer posts or p.m.'s until Sunday night :slight_smile:

As they say in the Cursillo, ¡De Colores!

Jess
in NW Indiana, USA
A married dad, RCIA team member, etc. but not a deacon :smiley:

P.S. Cool, timely handle u r using. It reads like a World Cup soccer team member. Neymar, Pelé, Gabbanelli …


#11

Hello jguad1. Yes, my cursillo experience was really good. My mother is a hardcore cursillista and she had been recruiting me since I was 18 but I’ve never wanted to attend, until finally I did in June 2012 at 32 years old! My Cursillo was in Spanish and it was named “Jesus Amigo Mio” (Jesus, my friend). I feel like I lost a lot of time by not attending earlier. Ever since my Cursillo experience, I’ve started to get interested in the bible and in everything related with my Catholic faith. I’ve been struggling because sometimes I feel unworthy of God’s blessings, but I think I’m slowly overcoming that. There’s still so much I have to work and to learn.

I’m from Yuma County and they are also having a Cursillo weekend this weekend (in Spanish). Men will attend from June 19 to June 22 and women will attend from June 26 to June 29. I’ll be praying for them and also for you (and also for me and my family :D)

I was working swing shift (4pm to 12 midnight) and a lot of overtime, so I was not able to attend “School of Leaders” or the “Ultreyas” but now I’m working day shift hopefully until I retire! After the Cursillo weekend, new Cursillistas are told to attend a school called “Escuela de Incersion” (Incercion school?) to get you ready for the “School of Leaders” and hopefully to get you to help in the Cursillo weekend. I’ve been waiting for this class since the beginning of the year and I can’t wait until the day it starts, hopefully in a two or three weeks.

My nickname, Gabbanelli, is actually the name of an accordion brand from Italy. I play the accordion and hopefully I will be able to use my music talent in the Cursillo movement, a lot of songs in Spanish used for the Cursillo are in the Norteno Genre. Well, good luck in your Cursillo weekend and God bless you.


#12

Gabbanelli… I have never attended the Cursillo, and in fact, I had never heard of it until your post here, but I think I know what you are saying. Three years ago, God brought a friend that I had known for some years across my path and he saw that I was struggling with something and invited me to a three day retreat. It blew my mind as I had not lived in a climate like that ever and it touched my soul. I have been back for the last two years as well and it has greatly enriched my faith and draw to the church.

Mind you, I was raised Catholic by two fantastic parents who could afford to send me to a Catholic School from K - 12, so I had a great foundation. But after high school, I sort of wandered away from my faith. It was always there, just not as strong as it might have been or my life was not Christ focused and Christ centered.

The one thing that you said though really hit me. “sometimes I feel unworthy of God’s blessings”. I think we ALL feel this way. I know when I sit in the church and look up at the crucifix that we have, all I can think if is “why Jesus would you die for someone like me?” I think this is normal, but God loves ALL of us. None of us are worthy of His love, but He has unconditional love for all of us. Thank God for that as if I had to judge me, I doubt I would be as loving.

PS… I too am discerning the call to the diaconate. I will pray for you if you could do the same for me. It’s a long and difficult road, but I know God will lead me, and you in the right direction.

YBIC – John


#13

Gabbanelli911 and everyone,

Many thanks to all for their prayers this past weekend… our Cursillo weekend was a great success! :clapping:

¡De Colores!

Jess = jguad1
in NW Indiana, USA
:clapping:


#14

To all you men who are considering the permanent diaconate-
In my diocese, deacons are expected to be daily communicants. Don’t wait until the formal beginning of your studies to start attending daily Mass. Sometimes that can be very difficult, because of work, family, Mass times, or distance from a church or chapel.
Your first allegiance is to God, then wife, then family, then job, then diaconate.
At your ordination, the bishop will ask you “'Are you resolved to maintain and deepen a spirit of prayer appropriate to your way of life and, in keeping with what is required of you, to celebrate faithfully the Liturgy of the Hours for the Church and for the whole world?” If you’re already celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours- super! If you’re not, and you’re ordained a deacon, you will be. The Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Church, second only to the Mass. Start with the one volume Christian Prayer. You will not learn it overnight; it takes a lot of practice. Ask your confessor or spiritual director for help. Or, go to divineoffice.org. This website has the Office for every day of the year, and it’s free! No page turning. I’ve seen folks in church using hand held computers, celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours.
In the Acts of the Apostles, we see deacons at work as ministers of charity. Are you doing any hands-on works of mercy; in a food pantry; on a bread line; or at a soup kitchen? How about a homeless shelter? Teaching CCD? RCIA? Doing sacramental preparation? No one can fault you for doing works of mercy, and they’re a good way to build your credibility with your pastor and diocese.
Did God ask you to become a permanent deacon? I don’t know. I do know that we can encounter God in sacrament, in the Word, and in each other.
St. Benedict, 1500 years ago, began his Rule, “Listen, with the ear of your heart.”
Look in the mirror; notice you have two ears and one mouth. Maybe God wants us to listen more and talk less.
I just made the intention to pray for you all at every Mass. God will give you the graces you need for salvation. God answers all prayer; sometimes yes; sometimes no; and sometimes, wait. God love you!!


#15

I think this work of service is really important. I know when I went to talk with the formation director, that was the one thing he made sure I was looking at, and enhancing in my life. I did some of these things, but not enough.

Also, I ditto the Liturgy of the Hours… great to do at least the Morning and Evening prayers as it will be required.

Last thing, get a spiritual director if you are having serious thoughts and they can help you with some of this. Maybe God is calling you, but maybe not for the diaconate. We all have roles to fill in His church in many different capacities.

Pax,

John


#16

To the OP, lots of great advice in the posts above. I will add that I am a diaconate candidate. You definitely need a spiritual advisor, and you should be able to find out the requirements for becoming a Deacon from your Diocesan website. Here it is a seven year process, with two years of prerequisites, if accepted two years as an Aspirant, and three years as a Candidate. The first two periods include discernment, committee interviews, and interviews with the Bishop. We have a priest and a nun who are with us every step of the way, and all of this helps us to determine if we are being called. This process will help you determine if you are being called, along with frequent prayers, so just being willing to answer God’s call is a great start. I will also add that I am enjoying the journey.

DGB


#17

One of the things that I have heard from my spiritual director is that some men, when they enter aspirancy, believe that being a deacon is nothing more than what you see at mass on Sunday. Get that thought out of your head right away I am told. I have been told, that my free time will get more limited as I will doing all kinds of things for the church in my free time. I have talked with some deacons who will confirm this, and I have also talked with some that said it is not too bad. They all said though that what we see in mass on Sunday is just a small part of what the Deacon does.

I think the point of this is, if you just want to be a deacon so you can wear nice vestments, say you have received Holy Orders, proclaim the gospel, and some of those other mass type things, you may be shocked at what other things you will be asked to do possibly.

DGB… just curious… the two years of requirements in your area… what all do they have you do?

God bless,

John


#18

John,
This should lead you to the section on our Diocesan web site pertaining to the permanent diaconate. If it doesn’t let me know, I am posting this using my iPhone.

dioceseofbmt.org/diaconate/index.html

From the website the courses needed for applying can be found by clicking on Criteria for a Qualifying Applicant. . I chose to take all of my Prerequisites via the University of Dayton on-line courses due to the flexibility of schedule. The courses are well done and helped me to get ready for the courses I am now taking.

DGB


#19

.

Well, I’m assuming you and your priest have known each other for a while, and he would have a fair idea of your character and sincerity. Others sometimes have a better idea of our character than we do.

I think you’re being given a pretty strong nudge by God towards becoming a deacon. It would involve some study, and it’s something you’d have to discuss with your wife. But if God’s calling you to it…?


#20

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