Permanent Diaconate Formation - FAQ
WHO IS A PERMANENT DEACON?
He is a man of faith, who is called from the community that already recognizes his dedication to service. He makes a lifetime commitment to serve the people of God by proclaiming the Word, assisting and presiding at Liturgies, and ministering in the areas of charity and social justice. A permanent deacon proclaims his availability to the community by addressing present and emerging needs of the Church. He may serve out of the context of a parish ministry and/or one of several ministries constituted to help the poor and disenfranchised, the lonely and the weak, the sick and dying. The bishop assigns all deacons to a ministry. In the letter of assignment, specific duties and responsibilities are delineated.
IS THIS A FULL TIME JOB?
The short answer to this question is no. Most deacons have a full time secular job. They normally dedicate a minimum of 10 hours per week to their ministry assignment. Deacons graciously work as volunteers in their assignments. The unique contribution of the permanent deacon is his representative Christian witness in the everyday world of family, work and civic life.
WHO CAN BE A DEACON?
Candidates must be men of strong and active faith and have a demonstrated record of service in the community in which they live, work and worship. A man must be at least 35 years of age and no more than 62 years of age at the time of ordination. He must be in good health, emotionally mature and have stable relationships. Men may be single or married. Single men take a vow of celibacy at ordination. A married candidate who is subsequently ordained, and whose wife dies, may not remarry.
HOW DOES SOMEONE BECOME A DEACON?
There is a 4-year program of formation studies. The formation program consists of courses in scripture, theology and pastoral studies; spiritual and formational experiences; and field education. Saint Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry at 120 French Road in Pittsford, conducts this program for the Diocese of Rochester.
HOW IS THE CANDIDATE’S FAMILY INVOLVED?
If married, a candidate must have the wholehearted support of his wife and family in his desire to enter the formation program. Wives are invited to attend classes and other events throughout the four years of the program. Their support and that of other family members, particularly children, is vital to the process. Both formation and diaconal service require adjustments on the part of all family members. Support is given to help candidates balance family duties and family time with their formation responsibilities.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
The process begins with a day of reflection for interested men and their wives, which is held in late spring. Those who decide to apply complete an application. The application includes an autobiography, family information, education background and references. Applicants and their wives are interviewed in the fall. Also, at this time background checks are completed. The bishop notifies applicants of his decision regarding their application in December. The first year of formation, which is called aspirancy, begins in late January.
For more information about formation, contact:
Deacon John Brasley, Director of Deacon Formation
Office of Deacon Personnel, 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester, New York 14624
Phone 585.328.3228 ext. 1237, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, 120 French Road, Rochester, NY 14618
Phone (585) 271-3657 ext. 289, or email email@example.com