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The aspirancy and formation program is designed to engage the wives and families as well as the men, to include input, evaluation and ministerial supervision from the parish staff and community and to connect the aspirants and candidates and their families with the community of the already ordained and their families. In addition to spiritual exercises and retreats, theological courses, pastoral ministry and liturgical practicums, the formation program is designed to involve these men in active ministry in service to the Church from the very beginning. The Shadowing experiences during the aspirancy period offer a man the opportunity to experience a “taste” of the various ministries in which Deacons serve within the three ministerial areas of Word, Liturgy, and Charity. Candidates engage in field education experiences throughout the diocese to broaden their view of the diocese and ministry.
Ordination, among other things, sacramentalizes diaconal ministry which already is witnessed in the aspirant’s/candidate’s pastoral, spiritual and faith commitment. While not measured in terms of a certain period of time, but in terms of human, spiritual, academic and pastoral skill development and in the discernment of an authentic call to Orders, formation prior to ordination will take at least five years (Aspirancy & Candidacy). Active ministry is expected to be evident in a person’s life, not just beginning, and is an integral part of formation. During the process, the Church will celebrate three Rites: Acceptance to Candidacy, Institution to the Ministry of Lector and Institution to the Ministry of Acolyte. Once instituted, the Candidate will exercise these ministries.
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