The Formation Program toward ordination as a permanent deacon is a five year discernment process which includes all aspects of the interested man’s life; family, work, personal and church.
He and is wife begin by attending an Information Session which briefly outlines the prerequisites prior to entrance and the formation, life and ministry of the deacon. If the man meets the prerequisites, he and his wife are invited to apply for the Inquiry stage where the formation, life and ministry of the deacon are explored in more detail. This process of discernment also includes interviews and testing. This year long commitment is one of much discussion and reflection for the man as he discerns whether he is being called to ordained ministry.
The bishop then decides whether the man should move on to the Aspirant Path where he ‘tests the waters’ of formation by taking a graduate level class in theology and spending one weekend per month at Christ the King Seminary for formation weekends. These weekends are intended to introduce the man and his wife to the life and ministry of the deacon. During this time he is also involved in supervised service through his parish.
At the bishop’s discretion, the man is then called to the Candidate Path where for the next three years the man and his wife prepare for his ordination through formation in the Intellectual, Human, Spiritual and Pastoral dimensions of his life. At the conclusion of his formation, after the man has successfully worked toward a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry degree through Christ the King Seminary as well as being trained and formed for the ministry of the deacon he celebrates the sacrament of Holy Orders and begins his ordained ministry of service for the Diocese of Buffalo.