The Diaconate is a vocation in its own right and must be discerned as seriously as that of the priesthood or married life.
The Diaconate is a sacramental symbol that makes Christ the Servant present to his Church. Because of this emphasis on service, Deacons are active in their community with the poor and marginalized in society. A deacon combines such service with his liturgical role in a parish to teach us that authentic worship leads to sacrificial service.
The first four-year program for the formation of Permanent Deacons in the Archdiocesan of Regina has already begun. Pray for the men in the program, along with their families, as they pursue this time of intense training. Consider prayerfully also those who may be next to hear the call of the Diaconate.
Anyone interested in the Diaconate is encouraged to contact Dr. Brett Salkeld at bretzkyhotmail [dot] com or you can phone him at 306-352-1651 ext. 214.
Deacon Candidates and Wives Begin Second Year of Formation
The 10 men preparing for ordination to the Permanent Diaconate for our Archdiocese will begin their second year of formation on the weekend of Aug. 28-30 at St. Michael’s Retreat, Lumsden. Formation is centred around 10 weekends together each year.
Presenting this weekend will be Deacon George Newman, Director of the Permanent Diaconate, Diocese of St. Catharine’s. Deacon Newman is also formerly director of deacon formation in the Archdiocese of Toronto and is perhaps the most experienced Catholic in Canada in the formation of permanent deacons.
In addition to presenting to the candidates and their wives this weekend, Deacon Newman will provide a special session on the diaconate for the priests of our Archdiocese on Friday afternoon, Aug. 28. The Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle is currently developing its own diaconal formation program and they have been invited to join us for this special session with Deacon Newman.
Archdiocesan Diaconate Course Underway
The first Archdiocesan Diaconate course began August 29, 2014 and Archdiocesan Theologian Dr. Brett Salkeld couldn’t be more pleased. “We’re really excited. We’ve got 10 great guys who really want to serve.” They range in age from 40-65 with most in their 50’s said Salkeld.
Thirty individuals expressed an interest in taking the 40 weekends course over four years with 10 eventually accepted and ready to begin their first weekend. “Eighteen applications were received and 10 are actually taking the course,” said Salkeld in an interview with the PM. Four applications were rejected for various reasons and another four were deferred and encouraged to apply again in four years. Four of the 10 are from Regina and one each Moose Jaw, Cabri, Melville, Kensoee Lake, Raymore and Lumsden. Salkeld said the 10 have already received some reading material and there have been on line discussions over the summer in preparation for the first meeting at. St. Michael’s Retreat House, Lumsden, Saskatchewan. Arrangements have been made with Newman Theological College, Edmonton, Alberta to accept some of the Diaconate course offerings as credit towards either a Bachelor’s or Masters degree in Theology for those that might be interested.
“We cover a whole gamut of things, academic, spiritual, human formation. I’ll be teaching theology and ethics and we’ll have people in to do scripture and church history and Canon Law and all those kinds of things. We’ll also be developing consistency in prayer life.” Deacons have to read daily morning and evening prayers known as the daily Office. They’ll also be following the practice of reading daily scripture as provided in the lectionary. In the third year of their studies, Salkeld expects, they will be doing some service ministry in the community, and he gave as examples, chaplaincy or working with immigrants or prison ministry. “We’ll be discerning with the guys their own call to different areas of service within our community.”
It’s not strictly mandated but wives are encouraged to attend and he indicated that all will attend the course with their husbands. One of them may use the opportunity offered at Newman to pursue a Masters Degree in Theology.
Following their ordination as permanent Deacons each will be assigned a parish and have a liturgical role to play in the parish, said Salkdeld.Deacons have a role in the mass but when there is no deacon, the priest usually performs that role. “A mass to be properly celebrated actually needs a deacon,” said Salkeld.
The Diocese pays tuition and other expenses for the candidates but after ordination Deacons are expected to perform 10 hours a week of service for the church that is not remunerated. “We pay up front for their training but they agree up front to work afterwards without pay.”