May I fulfill my annual continuing education requirements by on-line courses or seminars?
An on-line course or seminar is acceptable for continuing education if:
(1) the subject matter relates to the Church in areas of service, Word, or sacrament and will likely assist the deacon in his current or anticipated ministry; and
(2) qualifies as “classroom instruction” or “self study” in accordance with current policy in the Pastoral Manual.
“Classroom instruction” includes: (i) a course offered by a national or regional conference or a diocese which awards a certificate for completion; (ii) a course offered by the diocese for continuing education of deacons or priests; (iii) college courses in theology, religious studies, or other relevant courses; (iv) courses offered by a Diocesan Office; (v) instructional time at the annual deacon convocation; (vi) instructional time at a deanery or regional meeting of priests or deacons; and (vii) other courses acceptable to the Office of Diaconal Ministry.
“Self-study” includes books or recordings (video or audio).
A deacon may ask the Director of Diaconal Ministry in advance if a particular course, recording, or book qualifies for either classroom instruction or self study. For example, language courses have been approved for continuing education.
Deacons are currently obliged in the Diocese of Austin to complete thirty (30) hours of continuing education each year. Twelve (12) of those hours must be in “classroom instruction” and the remaining eighteen hours (18) may be either in “classroom instruction” or “self-study.”
Generally the following do not qualify for continuing education credit: (i) travel to instructional sites; (ii) informal meetings; (iii) prayer services; (iv) spiritual direction sessions; (v) pastoral council, diocesan board, administration, business, or committee meetings; (vi) support group functions; and (vii) courses not related to ministerial service.