The purpose of this period of inquiry is to provide information to those men who feel they are being called to a vocation of diaconal ministry. An invitation will be sent to each individual who has expressed an interest in learning more about the diaconate. Letters will be mailed to all pastors and deacons in the diocese informing them of the beginning of a formation program for the diaconal ministry.
Meetings will be held throughout the diocese for men and their wives interested in learning more about diaconal ministry, the discernment of God's call, the 5-year formation program, the life of a deacon, a wife's place in her husband's discernment and ministry, and the spiritual, intellectual, human and pastoral growth toward reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
NOTE: To attend one of these meetings, men must first meet with their pastor to discuss their sense of God's will for them. Then, they must email email@example.com to confirm they have received their pastor's permission to attend an Information Session; finally, they must register by commiting to attend on a specific session date; they must copy their pastor on this email.
Inquiry sessions are scheduled (in Spanish and English)from 2-5pm, at these locations.
Oct 18 Pastoral Center - 6225 Hwy 290 E., Austin, 78723
Nov 15 Pastoral Center - 6225 Hwy 290 E., Austin, 78723
Dec 13 St. John the Evangelist - 105 Hwy 1431 E., Marble Falls, TX 78654
Jan 17 St Mary’s - 701 Church Rd, Brenham, TX 77833
Feb 14 Our Lady of Guadalupe, 707 S. Sixth St. Temple, TX 76504
Mar 13 St. John the Evangelist, 624 E Hopkins St, San Marcos, TX 78666
April 10 Pastoral Center - 6225 Hwy 290 E., Austin, 78723
The formal period of discernment for aspirants will follow this period of inquiry. Priests, deacons and other qualified instructors will conduct these sessions. The meetings will be on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at various sites in the diocese. Wives are encouraged to attend these sessions. The schedule for the inquiry period will include:
- Theology of Ministry and Orders: The Vatican Council Renewal of the Permanent Diaconate, the Vocation and Ministry of Diaconate in the Church Today
- Introduction to Spirituality and Prayer: Diaconal Spirituality, Liturgy of the Hours, Spiritual Direction
- Diaconal Formation Requirements, Explanation of Academic, Pastoral, Spiritual and Human Formation, Study Habits, Classroom Management, Theological Reflection
- Marriage, Family, Work and Ministry (Marital Assessment)
Personality Assessment, Meyers-Briggs
- Introduction to Biblical Studies
- Introduction to Philosophy (2 sessions)
- Introduction to Catholic Teachings
- Introduction to Liturgy
- Ministry of Liturgy, Word & Charity: What does this mean practically?
Following these inquiry sessions, individuals wishing to be considered as deacon aspirants must submit an application package. The application package will include the following:
a. Church certificates of baptism, confirmation, and marriage, if relevant, issued within the past six months.
b. Proof of age.
c. A completed application form, a consent form regarding psychological assessment, and a criminal background check. Confidentiality of consultative reports and assessments will be honored to the fullest extent permitted by law.
d. A recent photograph of the nominee and, if married, of his wife, for administrative and faculty identification. The Office of Diaconate Ministry will make these photographs at the beginning of the aspirancy year.
e. A personal handwritten statement from the wife of a married applicant indicating her initial consents for his application and entrance into aspirant formation.
f. Letters of recommendation from the applicant’s pastor, deacons, parishioners, colleagues and, if appropriate, the aspirant’s employer indicating that formation will not interfere with the applicant’s employment responsibilities.
g. A recent medical certificate noting that there are no physical impediments that will prevent the applicant from successfully completing formation and active ministry.
h. An official transcript of past and/or present academic studies, including the high school diploma.
i. A written referral from the rector of any previous institution in which the applicant has spent time in formation, including explicit reference to the evaluations of the candidate and the votes taken.
j. A criminal background check, processed during the aspirancy year.
k. Proof of legal residency in the diocese that allows for permanent residency acceptable by the University of St. Thomas (Houston), including documentation of residency for those applicants born outside of the United States, and for those who are married and whose wives were born outside of the United States giving proof of the wife’s residency.
Appropriate psychological testing and consultation is included as part of the application process. A clinical psychologist will conduct the testing process and will interview each of the applicants. The Office of Diaconal Ministry will administer the Deacon Perceiver.
The Director of Diaconal Ministry will arrange for interviews with an interview team. The purpose of the interview is to assess the inquirer’s level of awareness of the diaconal vocation, status of his family life, employment stability, and a general aptitude for the diaconal ministry. The interview will include his wife, if the inquirer is married. The Admission and Scrutinies Committee will review the materials obtained through the application and interview processes of each nominee and will nominate to the bishop those applicants they deem as possessing the necessary qualities for entrance into and successful completion of the aspirant path.
After reviewing the recommendations and the rational of the Admission and Scrutinies Committee, the Bishop determines admittance of the nominee. If the applicant is determined not to be ready, but could be a suitable aspirant in the future, he will be informed regarding options as to ways he might prepare himself to achieve the basic entrance requirements.
After the interview is complete and the Bishop approves the aspirant, he is ready to begin formation. The Rite of Admission to Candidacy will be celebrated approximately one year after the academic preparation begins. Aspirants and candidates will attend an annual retreat.