Discerning the Permanent Diaconate
As I contemplate on what to say to those discerning the Permanent Diaconate, I recall being at the Red Mass and looking at all the judges in their black robes as they respectfully filed in to their pews. There they sat waiting on blessings for the coming court year. My mind was abuzz with thoughts of all the people who have come before them in their courtrooms, and the many lives that are affected by their decisions. What a responsibility they have.
When I made the decision to become a Permanent Deacon, I struggled with what I would give up and what lay before me. I wondered how this decision would affect not just me, but others around me and those I had not even met. It was not an easy decision, nor should it be. St. Ignatius knew decisions and discernment were critical to individuals. After prayer and reflection he created a seven step process on making good decisions. In short, here are those steps:
1. Right from the beginning ask for God’s guidance, then make a clear statement or question of what you are trying to decide.
2. Gather some information. Make a pro and con list. Ask for an opinion. How will your decisions affect others?
3. Bring all this to prayer. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to let go of where I am?” Take your time with this step.
4. Decide which choice gives you more peace and make a decision.
5. Live with your decision. Pray for strength and courage to follow through.
6. Now it’s time to act on your decision. Try not to question yourself at this point and stay focused.
7. Seek confirmation. See if your decision bears fruit. Do not be discouraged if you start to doubt. This is normal. Realize God does not want us to always be right but to always be faithful.
This process works for many types of decisions. It could be buying a home, taking on a new job or retirement plans. The good news is you are not alone in your decision to enter the diaconate. The formation program will help you discern this life changing decision.
I have experienced that the burden of work can never be greater than the peace and joy that fills your life in serving God and His people.
The call to service is a call to the entire community, not just a select few. The Diaconate formation program will start Sept. 11, 2010. This program has four parts: Academic, Pastoral, Spiritual and Parish assignments. The academic portion is a college program from the University of Dallas with 32 hours of college credit. Bishop Duca has set the class size for the Diaconate formation at 25 and another 25 places will be set aside for our DRE’s and Catholic school teachers who want to attend the academic portion.
Fall Semester 2010 includes the following courses: Philosophy; Introduction to Sacred Scripture; Ministry in the Church; Vatican II. Spring Semester 2011 includes the following courses: Philosophy; Introduction to Theology; Church History; Introduction to Morality. For a full list of the courses in the four-year program, please visit our website.(http://www.dioshpt.org/deacon/deaconformsandapps.html.)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 318-207-0234 for questions or to make an appointme
by Deacon Michael Straub