How to prepare a permanent Deacon


#1

If a married man was discerning the vocation to become a permanent Deacon, and had the full support of his wife and family, what studies would be helpful (beyond the prescribed for formation) that could help him become the most useful possible?

Let's also say that his strengths and talents were:

Restorative: Fixer, healer, problem solver
Strategic: planner
Learner: lifelong learner, craves more knowledge
Responsibilty: takes ownership
Belief: strong convictions in faith

He also has a background in music. He is a cradle catholic who longs to see more coming to Christ through His church. For those within, and those who have fallen away from it, he hopes to see them come to a fullness of faith and the experience of that faith here on earth preparing them for the joy that is to come.

Also, I guess I could rephrase the question as "what would be the most helpful thing in today's church that a Deacon could do?" For instance, would a Deacon be a person that could help minister to people seeking annulments, marriage or family counseling, or even a vocations director or assistant?

Thank you and God Bless you for your help.


#2

Yes to all those things, but you are jumping the gun a bit. Part of the reason for diaconate formation is to allow the bishop to discern if you are called and what gifts you have. Discernment is a two way street. If you believe you are called, and if the Bishop agrees, it is important that he have an idea what gifts the spirit has bestowed upon you so that he can best decide what ministry is most well suited for you, and you for it.

Rather than try to prepare yourself for a ministry, through independant reading and study, I suggest you focus more at this time on prayer, fasting and seeking spiritual direction to determine if you may be hearing a calling. If so, then immerse yourself in the study, the formation program, the assignments, all with an open mind and heart to the calling of the Lord in a spirit of humility and obedience. If you do that (and it isn't easy) the rest will work itself out.

I think most others deacons would agree with me. If not, I hope they pipe in hear and give their two cents.


#3

[quote="His_little1, post:1, topic:266166"]
If a married man was discerning the vocation to become a permanent Deacon, and had the full support of his wife and family, what studies would be helpful (beyond the prescribed for formation) that could help him become the most useful possible?

....Also, I guess I could rephrase the question as "what would be the most helpful thing in today's church that a Deacon could do?" .

[/quote]

that is two different questionsl though of course related

the best thing you can do while discerning, and it is a requirement here to be considered for the diaconate formation program, is to become involved in parish ministries and apostolates, particularly those in service of the liturgy, catechesis and evangelization, as well as social welfare apostolates.

What does a deacon do? Whatever the bishop asks him to do. The role can vary widely. Talk to deacons already active in your diocese, and you wife should talk to their wives.

You cannot undertake those ministries, and you certainly cannot undertake the diaconate unless and until you put your spiritual life first before everything, yes even family. Because you are not serving your family unless your spiritual life comes first.


#4

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:266166"]

What does a deacon do? Whatever the bishop asks him to do. The role can vary widely.

[/quote]

I live in a missionary-type of diocese in California where we have tended not to be able to generate our own replacements for the priesthood. When there was an abundance of Irish priests once upon a time, we recruited a lot of them (40 to 50 years ago). Today, the makeup of our priests in the diocese are of Black and Asian descent with my present priest being from Fiji. We do have a lot of missionary parishes who only has a visiting priest to say Mass on occasions.

So the question is 'what can a deacon do to help with our obvious priest shortage in our diocese?' When a priest resigned a couple of years ago where his parish was associated with the 4-year college in the area, the bishop assigned a permanent deacon to the post to take care of all of the administrative duties of the parish. The bishop was able to move his priests around to take care of the sacramental needs of the parishes and allow the deacons to take care of the day-to-day administrative needs of the parish. So a deacon who has a degree in business administration would be valuable to a bishop IMO since that would give him more flexibility with his priests. I also know A LOT of priests who dislike their administrative duties and would like to focus more on their spiritual duties.

So my advice to deacons would be for them to get their business degrees while they are discerning. :rolleyes:


#5

[quote="blueadept, post:4, topic:266166"]
I live in a missionary-type of diocese in California where we have tended not to be able to generate our own replacements for the priesthood. When there was an abundance of Irish priests once upon a time, we recruited a lot of them (40 to 50 years ago). Today, the makeup of our priests in the diocese are of Black and Asian descent with my present priest being from Fiji. We do have a lot of missionary parishes who only has a visiting priest to say Mass on occasions.

So the question is 'what can a deacon do to help with our obvious priest shortage in our diocese?' When a priest resigned a couple of years ago where his parish was associated with the 4-year college in the area, the bishop assigned a permanent deacon to the post to take care of all of the administrative duties of the parish. The bishop was able to move his priests around to take care of the sacramental needs of the parishes and allow the deacons to take care of the day-to-day administrative needs of the parish. So a deacon who has a degree in business administration would be valuable to a bishop IMO since that would give him more flexibility with his priests. I also know A LOT of priests who dislike their administrative duties and would like to focus more on their spiritual duties.

So my advice to deacons would be for them to get their business degrees while they are discerning. :rolleyes:

[/quote]

Praying for priestly vocations would be more appropriate.

Don't assume anything in terms of where a bishop may assign a deacon. I am a lawyer and my ministry is marriage prep.


#6

[quote="His_little1, post:1, topic:266166"]
If a married man was discerning the vocation to become a permanent Deacon, and had the full support of his wife and family, what studies would be helpful (beyond the prescribed for formation) that could help him become the most useful possible?

Let's also say that his strengths and talents were:

Restorative: Fixer, healer, problem solver
Strategic: planner
Learner: lifelong learner, craves more knowledge
Responsibilty: takes ownership
Belief: strong convictions in faith. . ..

[/quote]

A warning: the "Living Your Strengths" program is conducive to making worker bees, not Saints.


#7

Thank you all so far for your answers. I appreciate the input. I am already pretty involved in parish and diocesan life. I don't plan to be ready for study until my children are a little older, but was thinking about returning to school and wondered if there were any studies I could take now that would benefit the ministry later. As I said, I'm a planner, yet I have a firm belief in God's plan working out before me.

Thank you all again and God Bless!


#8

Each diocese has its own diaconate formation program. I suggest you make an appointment with the vocations director in your diocese.
Our diocese requires the diaconate candidates and their wives to attend certain masters level courses at the Catholic university together as a group, during the few years of their program.


#9

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.