The program entails six years; the first year is the discerning year, for the applicant and for the Church, followed by five years of academic, spiritual and pastoral formation.
While the program provides competence within a specialized Church ministry, the curriculum and methodology are not intended to be a condensed theological course for the priesthood.
Applicants are already prepared in other fields with valuable, practical, and often professional skills. The formation program will enrich their capabilities in applying these skills to the diaconate. Field education is designed to integrate theory and practice. Supervised field-ministry assignments offer numerous opportunities for learning about service in the diocese and the variety of ministries available.
The program is based on the assumption the candidates are mature adults and will accept responsibility for their own learning. They are required to participate in class and group discussions and share their faith and ministry experiences openly. They must be able to communicate their knowledge and experiences to others both orally and in writing.
Requirements for Applicants
- Be a Roman Catholic of sound moral character, mature in his faith, with a developed prayer life and a sense of vocation to service.
- Be a Catholic at least 5 years if you were brought into the faith through the RCIA process.
- Be in a stable marriage for at least 5 years.
- Have at least a high school education (college degree is preferred) and have the ability to learn in a structured academic environment.
- Be a resident of the Diocese of Raleigh for at least 5 years.
- Complete the safe environment training and background check.
- Be at least 35 years of age entering the program and not be older than 60.
- Be in generally good physical and mental health.
- Have proven stability in his secular employment and family life.
- Have a secure and clear identity and a healthy self-image.
- Already be working in a service ministry in his parish, preferably in some leadership capacity. This is in addition to any liturgical ministry in which he may be involved.
- Be recognized as a leader, a person of prayer, compassion and service by his pastor and have his support.
- If married, have the enthusiastic support of his wife and family to pursue ordination to the diaconate.
- Families with children under 12 years of age should consider the impact that the formation program may have on child care.
Selection of Candidates
The selection of candidates will begin with a general information meeting held during September of the recruiting (discerning) year for men who are discerning a vocation in the diaconate and their wives.
This will start the year of discernment for the interested as well as for the Church.
The next meeting, during the month of November, will be a Mass, and at the conclusion of the Mass, all of those present who are still discerning a vocation to the permanent diaconate are invited to complete the official confidential application and submit it to the director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate of the Diocese of Raleigh. Usually, the deadline for accepting applications will be on January 15 of the current year.
During the rest of the year of discernment, the applications are reviewed by the director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate as well as by the Committee of Admissions and Scrutinies.
The director will present the recommendations found at the meeting with the Admissions and Scrutinies Committee to the bishop, and the bishop will decide who is to be called to be part of the formation group.
Formation to the permanent diaconate will be five years.
The formation is supervised by the Diaconal Formation Commission in conjunction with the director of the Office of the Diaconate.
Should a review of the application and other documents indicate that the applicant cannot be considered for the program, he will be informed at that time.
If at any point in the selection process the admission board feels it is not in the best interest of the diaconate or the applicant to proceed further, he will be informed.