Permanent Deaconate: Admissions, Qualifications, Requirements
AGE: Candidates must be between 35 and 60 at date of acceptance to the program. However, consideration shall be given to the age of their children. It would be preferable that the children be able to understand what their father is undertaking. Married applicants should be in a valid Catholic marriage for at least five years. Converts to Roman Catholicism should be practicing Catholics for at least three years. Single men may be ordained as permanent Deacons at age 25.
APTITUDE: The Applicant will be required to undergo a 54 question tape recorded Deacon Perceiver Interview to determine his aptitude for diaconate ministry.
ACTIVITY: The applicant should have been involved in parish ministry for a period of years.
EMPLOYMENT: Candidates must be employed during the time of formation and at ordination, or retired with sufficient income. (Permanent Deacons ordinarily do not get paid for their services).
HEALTH: A certificate of health from the family doctor and a psychological examination are required.
EDUCATION: The equivalent of two years of college or university. Equivalency tests will be administered if necessary.
VALIDITY: Proof of Baptism, Confirmation and a valid Catholic marriage.
PARISH: Must be a resident of the Diocese of St. Catharines and have the recommendation of his Pastor.
SCANDAL: The Chaplain of the Formation Program will require of the man and his wife to disclose if there is any scandal in their lives that may be detrimental to the acceptance of the Applicant.
The main focus is to prepare candidates for the ministry of service towards the dispossessed and disadvantaged, those who have been pushed to the fringe of civil society by such things as poverty, sickness, crime and age. The ministry of the liturgy and the ministry of the word celebrate and reflect the deacon’s ministry of service.
The Diaconate Formation Program is open to all men of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Catharines who meet the basic requirements. The candidate should:
1. Call the Director of the Diaconate at the Catholic Centre, (905) 684-0154
2. Be prepared with his wife to attend an interview.
3. Submit a letter of recommendation from his pastor.
4. Undertake a tape-recorded 54-question interview.
5. Complete the diaconate formation programme application form with the required documentation.
6. Experience a screening process of approximately six months, which will determine eligibility for acceptance as an aspirant into the initial stage of formation.
Specifically these are the stages of admission to the program:
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW: Most inquiries are initiated in a telephone call. Pamphlets and descriptions of the diocesan plan for diaconate will be sent out. A record of the telephone interview with pertinent information will be kept for future reference. The applicant is requested to discuss the material with his wife and call again to schedule a personal interview when both can attend.
INITIAL INTERVIEW: The applicant and his wife are invited to attend a personal interview at which time the formation process and the admissions process are explained. Any questions or concerns by the couple are answered at this time.
RECOMMENDATION: Should the man wish to apply, a letter of recommendation from his Pastor is required before the admissions process can proceed.
DEACON PERCEiVER INTERVIEW: This is a 54 question, tape recorded, low stress interview, designed by Selection Research Inc. to identify the man’s talent and gifts for diaconate.
APPLICATION FORM: Following successful coding of the Deacon Perceiver Interview, an application form will be sent to the man.
REFERENCES: Upon return of the completed application form, reference forms are sent out to the three specified references.
DOCUMENTATION: Supporting documents include; a recent Baptismal Form with proof of Confirmation, Marriage Form, and confirmation of degree or diploma status.
HOME VISIT: A couple is engaged to interview the applicant and his wife in their home and provide a formal report.
PSYCHOLOGICAL/MEDICAL REPORTS: A psychologist engages the applicant in a series of tests and the results are provided to the Chaplain of the program. A medical report from the man’s doctor is also requested.
ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE: Following completion of all documentation and testing, the Admissions Committee meets to assess the suitability of the applicant for admission.
SCRUTINY INTERVIEW: Upon acceptance by the Admissions Committee, the applicant and his wife are invited for the final interview. Each will be questioned independently about the possibility of scandal in their lives and their full freedom to engage the formation program.
The Admissions Committee will notify the candidate of its decision.
Candidates accepted into the program are required to engage the formation program for a period of five years. In that period, they attend one weekend a month from September to June at the Chancery in Hamilton for spiritual, academic and ministerial formation under the direction of a qualified Resource Person. In addition, they meet in small groups each week for prayer, study, discussion and reflection on a specific topic. During the summer, a course of reading, discernment and service in areas of social concern is expected.