The diaconate formation experience has exceeded my expectations. I was told time would fly but could never have imagined how fast. My last blog was posted after completing my first semester of the first year. Now I am completing the second semester of the second year!
We are blessed to have a wonderful group of God loving men going through this journey together. This group includes the 4th year “seniors” moving into their final year in preparation of ordination. These five men have been a great example of holiness and reverence for our group.
Our group, soon to enter the third year of the five year program, numbers 12. Godincidence? We come from all walks of life and have established a camaraderie that will last a lifetime.
When the diaconate was re-established, after the Second Vatican Council, it was designed as a three year program. Later it was changed to a four year program and recently moved to five years. A Masters in Theology was added in addition to more pastoral/practical education. We will be truly prepared and educated to serve our assigned flock if we are given the blessing of ordination!
Our school year includes classes every Wednesday evening and one Saturday a month at the St. John Vianney Seminary in Miami. In addition we have one full weekend a month at the St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. There we are joined with Palm Beach candidates. During our weekends we start and end the days with prayers, with classes sandwiched in between. What a beautiful and moving experience to hear 40 men praying and singing acapela in a small chapel!
As a teen I felt the calling to the priesthood and actively explored it. I remember telling my father I was considering the calling and remember when I told him I didn’t think it was for me. About 20 years ago I explored a calling to the diaconate but was told at the time I was too young. That thinking has changed allowing men with young children to take part in diaconate formation. I tried again a few years ago and was told the program was being updated from four years to five and no enrollments were being accepted at the time.
So as we hear many times, it is all up to God’s timing and plan and not up to ours! I am blessed to have the support of my wife and my two daughters. Without their support this program would be impossible to complete. My pastor, along with my Emmaus and Knight brothers have also been prayerfully and financially supportive.
I pray every day that other men in my parish join me in this wonderful journey. Work in the ministries was important and rewarding – but this is an awesome experience. The professors are out of this world qualified and inspiring. Our prayer consciences have achieved levels we never thought possible. And we are learning so much more about our faith.
If you know of someone that you feel in your heart will make a good candidate for diaconate formation, have them contact their pastor. A new class enters this Fall and that only happens once every two years!
Left to right: Ismar, Luis, Steve, Victor, JC, Dr. Brian, Sister, Jorge, Mesmin, Me, Ernie, Dr. Jose and Enrique.
This is our group along with Sister Margarita. She has taught at the seminary for 28 years and just announced her retirement. What a blessing for us to have had her as a professor!
Please pray for us and our families as we continue the discernment process. We will do the same for you!