Sunday, March 28, 2010

A look at a typical day in formation

It is a beautiful Saturday afternoon and Spring is starting to assert its' foothold in the greater New Orleans area. A fair amount of festivals are springing up (pun intended) and folks down here are starting to boil crawfish. The weather could not be any better on this Saturday in late March.

Huddled into two seperate classroom spaces in an old church hall are 30 men discerning and studying on the path to possible ordination to the Permanent Diaconate. In our Archdiocese of New Orleans, having just ordained 22 men as Deacons some 15 months ago, we have 10 men preparing for ordination this December and another 20 who will follow suit in 2 years. Of course this is all subject to continued discernment, the call of the Holy Spirit and the ability for the men to complete the courses of study. Yet here they are; all dutifully toiling away on another Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I spent most of the day with the 2010 group. They are knee deep into homiletics and I observed their practice homilies on this Saturday. This is followed by a period of assessment and critique. Ah, I remember it well. With 9 months to go to ordination, they are doing well. In the late afternoon they got an exercise in exegesis and hermenutics.

I did spend a little time observing the 2012 group. They are in year 2 of formation so I watched as they studied today, lecture style, the Scriptures and the Sacraments. This group has a healthy number of wives who attend classes with their husbands. It is a strong sign of their support of the husbands call to serve. Of course those who are not there are equally supportive and attend to many family responsibilities so their husbands can be free to spend the necessary time in formation. All the wives are contributing mightily to the formation of our new Deacons.

Most of our instructors are Deacons themselves and all have been involved in formation studies for quite some time. It is always another tangible evidence of the diaconal charism to see these Deacons giving of themselves so others may have the opportunity to serve in charity and word.

I love the ministry of the Permanent Deacon; so much so that I find it inspiring to spend time with those preparing for ordination. Just being a Deacon myself 15 months I still find those Saturday's when I am free well spent around the classroom. Of course now this has to be balanced around my own responsibilities as a Deacon and of course as a husband, father and employee.

Continue to pray for these men who discern this vocation and for their wives and families as well. In this Year for Priests, where we all pray for and understand the need for vocations to the Priesthood, the Permanent Diaconate is also indeed a vocation worthy of our prayers.

In case you may be from the Archdiocese of New Orleans and reading this, understand that we will be starting another inquiry group for a possible class of 2014. Come and see. I'll post more details later!

1 comment:

  1. It's great reading about what's going on in your formation program. I'm in formation right now in the Diocese of Spokane, Washington. We are just finishing the second of four years. I look forward to reading more about your current group.