By Deacon John McGregor
JACKSON – Do you think that God might be calling you to be a permanent deacon? Do you see yourself as an ordained minister in the church, called to the functions of Word, Sacrament, and Charity? As ministers of Word, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach, and teach in the name of the church. As ministers of Sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services. As ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then marshaling the church’s resources to meet those needs. Deacons are also dedicated to eliminating the injustices or inequities that cause such needs. But no matter what specific functions a deacon performs, they flow from his sacramental identity. In other words, it is not only WHAT a deacon does, but WHO a deacon is, that is important.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz has given his permission to begin the application process for a new cohort of permanent deacons for the Diocese of Jackson.
Applicants will only be accepted into the program if there is evidence that the community needs the service of the applicant and is willing to support the applicant through his formation period. The local pastor’s recommendation is also necessary because he will be working closely with the applicant before and after ordination. The applicant’s wife must also give her consent to his participation in the program and later to his ordination.
The screening process includes the following elements:
• The applicant must be at least 35 years of age at the time of ordination. Bishop Kopacz may waive the upper age limit at his discretion.
• A letter of recommendation from the local pastor or LEM stating impressions about the applicant’s service in community and potential as a deacon is required. Additionally, the pastor or LEM and Sacramental Minister must complete his/her part of the deacon’s application.
• Psychological testing will be conducted by a licensed psychologist to help determine emotional health and stability of both the applicant and his wife.
• A series of interviews with the applicant and his wife will be conducted once the completed application has been received at the Office of the Permanent Diaconate. A final interview with the applicant only will be conducted by the Deacon Advisory Board. The purpose of these interviews will be to determine the attitudes of the applicant and his wife about the church, pastoral care, and program requirements.
• After the interview has been completed, the Director of the Diaconate Program will forward to the diocesan bishop a recommendation to accept or reject the application of the applicant for admission to study for the diaconate. The diocesan bishop has the final authority as to who will be accepted.
Applications must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Permanent Diaconate no later than July 31, 2021. If you are interested in learning more about the permanent diaconate, contact Deacon John McGregor at email@example.com.
(Deacon John McGregor is the Director for the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Jackson.)