Sunday, July 14, 2013

One Call to Serve Comes to an End to Prepare for Another

Two years ago during an information meeting regarding the Permanent Diaconate Juanita and I learned that a candidate in the formation program is required to cease all ministry work within their parish.  They are not to continue to serve on any councils, to serve as a lector, an usher, an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, etc.,  The reason for this is to allow the candidate to focus their mind and efforts on formation.  I suspect that this aspect of formation will be covered in an upcoming Apirancy Retreat and Orientation.  With that in mind, today could have be my last time serving as a Reader for a while.  

This "restriction" seems counter intuitive, considering a main aspect about being a deacon is serving, but I am certain there are good reasons for this.  In the meantime, Juanita and I will join the other members of St. Fabian and celebrate the Eucharist.

In further preparation for our upcoming retreat and orientation, which runs from a Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, Juanita and I visited a number of dog boarding facilities.  We are having to deal with boarding our 7 year old Chocolate Lab, Deacon, for the first time in many years.  Juanita is rightfully particular about where Deacon will stay because she spends a tremendous amount of time and energy keeping his allergies under control.  This includes preventing skin infections by giving Deacon weekly baths and allergy shots.  It can be a thankless job until someone tells her how beautiful Deacon's coat is, or that they would be hard pressed to tell he had allergies.

As for the Formation Program itself, here is some information provided by the Archdiocese of Detroit.  As noted in an earlier post, I have been accepted into the aspirancy year of formation.
Admission into formation occurs through two distinct but unified processes: Acceptance into the aspirant path and admittance into the candidate path in diaconal formation.  With the acceptance of the applicant into aspirant formation, the admission process continues with an assessment of readiness for entrance into the candidate path in formation.  This phase of discernment extends throughout the entire aspirant formation process, thereby allowing ample opportunity for personal observations, dialog, interview, and additional assessment of each aspirant.
The path to ordination is a four year process where the expectation to complete the aspirant path is one (1) year and the expectation to complete the candidate path is three (3) years.  In addition to academic studies, the formation program is composed of a variety of components: Formation Days, Field Ministry, Retreats, Spiritual Direction, Mentoring, and participation in a variety of Archdiocesan functions.  All are essential in the formation of the whole individual and as such, active participation is mandatory.  (Archdiocese of Detroit Office of the Permanent Diaconate "The Discernment of the Call, An Inquirer's Guide for Men Discerning the Call to the Permanent Diaconate, p. 25)

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