Formation

Human Development

We employ methods and processes of adult education, emphasizing reflection and sharing one’s personal faith history, to help aspirants to Orders understand that their vision of life is influenced by a highly personalized and unique way of looking at reality, and by getting in touch with this vision, they will make more enlightened decisions about the direction of their life. In this regard, we aim to help aspirants:

  1. appreciate the opportunity to reflect and share their growing awareness of values and attitudes upon the choices they make
  2. learn processes and methods of getting in touch with their vision of life
  3. examine the attitudes that shape their relationship to God, self and others
  4. search for distortions and resistance in their vision which become obstacles to growth in their relationships and a desire to change those that make them a prisoner to a past that encumbers growth
  5. help them construct a personal framework for living which keeps them in touch with the authentic vision of reality revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual

We emphasize participation in the sacraments, prayer, reading and meditating on Scripture and other works of Christian spirituality, to strengthen the gifts and skills required for diaconal ministry. We believe spiritual integration should be centered in the Pascal Mystery of Jesus Christ. We strive to enhance spiritual growth by.

  1. teaching various models of Christian spirituality and Catholic spiritual tradition, the spirituality of marriage and the dynamics of faith
  2. studying the relationship between Christian morality, ethics, expressions of prayer in relation to lifestyle and social justice issues
  3. nurturing their vocation by raising the consciousness of the aspirant to the ministries of bishops, priests, and laity, the needs of the diocese, and the ministry of the Universal Church
  4. using shielded experience – theological reflection, journaling, retreats, days of recollection, spiritual direction – to promote ongoing growth in the spirituality of living

Theological

We have designed a program that enables the aspirant to evaluate society and the culture in the light of the Gospel and conversely; understand the Gospel in the light of selected features of society and culture. We want deacons to possess and reflect on the knowledge of their faith, and the traditions of the Church. We expect them to be conversant with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and with more recent official Church teaching. The theological formation portion of the program addresses, but is not limited to:

  1. an introduction to the Scriptures and to critical interpretation of the Bible: a theology of the Old Testament, the New Testament, especially the Gospels and Epistles; the relationship between Scripture and tradition; how to use the Scripture in preaching, catechesis, counseling etc
  2. fundamental theology: the sources, themes, and methods of moral theology, revelation, faith and reason
  3. the faith of the Church: the mystery of God the Creator and Redeemer, Christology, ecclesiology, the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, sacraments and liturgy, especially the theology of ministry
  4. Christian morality in both its personal and social dimension, including principles of Christian social justice as proclaimed in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, key Papal encyclicals, and pastoral letters of the U.S. Bishops
  5. the history and nature of the Church: pastoral practice of canon law, models of church, Apologetics, religious pluralism, historical, and canonical dimensions of the diaconate, ministering role of the laity

Pastoral

We visualize pastoral formation as the integration of personal development, theological studies, and the application of spiritual formation in the practice of pastoral ministry. Here the aspirant must apply understandings acquired and the attitudes revealed to the development and use of skills essential to the diaconal ministry. We help them give shape and substance to their ministry by:

  1. first recognizing the diversity of ministries in the Church, the importance of ecumenism, the unifying power of the sacraments and worship, and the potential impact of preaching and liturgy upon Christian conscience and action
  2. helping them acquire a heightened sensitivity to the social aspects of culture and how to use this capacity to discover and discern the pastoral needs within the Church and community
  3. providing them specific practicum experiences and competent supervision to help them further discern their suitability for specific ministries, acquire a realistic sense of personal limitations and the confidence to assert their talents and skills
  4. preparing them to use previously learned communication and relationship skills to assume a leadership role in their parish and local community becoming a builder of community and an agent for social change:
  5. helping them assess and use the resources of the community and their ecclesial consciousness to draw others into the diaconal mission of charity and social justice