Yesterday, I received a "Yes" to a possible second vocation, that of a Permanent Deacon. Technically, as the letter from the Office for Clergy and Consecrated Life for the Archdiocese of Detroit states, I "have been accepted into the Aspirancy year of formation for the Permanent Diaconate."
To say this "Yes" is a bit more formal than Juanita's "Yes" to my proposal for marriage would be an understatement. Regardless, similar to Juanita's acceptance, this acceptance starts what could be a four-year engagement. God willing, the engagement would culminate in a Sacrament similar to the Sacrament of Marriage, that being the Sacrament of Holy Orders - Ordination as a Permanent Deacon.
While in the end I alone (in a manner of speaking) would receive this Sacrament, because of the magnitude of this commitment, the engagement - formation program - will involve both Juanita and I. A weekend retreat and orientation with other Aspirants and their wives early next month kicks things off. Now, in addition to the Intellectual Formation that started with the prerequisite classes I have been taking at Sacred Heart, Spiritual, Human, and Pastoral Formation will begin.
I would be remiss to not include a few "Thank you's" in this transitional phase from the Application process to Formation. To Jan, Dan, and Jim for their letters of recommendation - thank you. Likewise, thank you to the late Fr. Norbert and Fr. Jeff for their pastoral support. Thank you as well to Deacon Jene for helping to get the application ball rolling again last December when Juanita told me to follow my heart. To my parents, Jim and Sandy, for all they have done throughout my life, leading me to this moment. Finally, to Juanita, who has been by my side, and was instrumental in helping me hear and act on this calling. I thank God that you are in my life. Without all of your involvement, prayers and doing God's will, this would not be possible.
To wrap up this post, as a prayer for Juanita and I, I would like to paraphrase the closing included in the acceptance letter. I would humbly ask readers of this blog periodically say this prayer for us as well.
"May God's Spirit be with us as we begin this journey in His service. May His Spirit give us the knowledge, wisdom, and discernment that we will need to come to know His will for us. Amen."