Applicant :one aspiring to enter the diaconal formation class
Aspirant: one in the first year of formation
Candidate: one who is in the second, third and fourth year of formation.
When was the last Permanent Diaconate class recruited?
The last class was recruited in 2008. The 21 members of that class were ordained on February 2, 2013, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
When will classes begin?
Aspirant classes will commence in September of 2016.
How many slots are available for the class beginning in September?
It is anticipated that approximately 12-15 applicants will be chosen for this class.
What is the approximate date of ordination?
Depending upon the progress of the program, the Diocese of Providence anticipates an ordination in the fall of 2020.
What is the time commitment for those in the Permanent Diaconate Program?
The one year aspirant phase of formation will be facilitated by the Diocese of Providence at diocesan facilities to be announced. During this phase, fifteen Monday nights and five weekends will be devoted to retreat and/or instruction, plus three additional special evenings will be facilitated by the Diocese of Providence. Beginning with the aspirant phase and extending throughout formation and beyond, all will be required to participate in spiritual direction which is very important for discerning the Lord’s call toward ordination.
The three year candidate phase of formation is scheduled for three years with one night per week classes conducted by the Theology Department at Providence College during each of the fall, spring and summer semesters. Candidates will also be required to attend three weekend sessions devoted to retreat and instruction facilitated by the Diocese of Providence during the fall and spring semesters only.
What is the minimum and maximum age to enroll in the formation program?
Successful applicants must be at least 31 years of age and not older than 56 years of age on January 1, 2016 (age change effective February 1st, 2016).
What are the necessary requirements to apply for the Diaconate Program of Formation?
Where will classes be offered?
- Be a practicing Catholic layman who will be at least 35 years of age at the time of ordination and not older than 56 years of age on January 1st in the year of recruitment (age change effective February 1st, 2016 - - at least 31 and not older than 56)
- Be actively involved in ministry at either at a parish or diocesan level
- If married, be in a stable marriage, of at least 5 years, and have the support and agreement of his wife and family to pursue a diaconal vocation
- If unmarried (single or a widower), be living in a lifestyle consistent with the call to the ordained ministry of the Catholic Church (individual will be required to take an oath of celibacy before ordination)
- Be a United States citizen or hold a valid status as a “Resident Alien” in the USA
Classes for the Formation Program will be offered at Providence College and at various Diocesan facilities, to be announced.
What classes are required of those in the formation program?
Many years ago, it was decided that the deacons of the Diocese of Providence should be trained in such a way that they could be “of good service to the Church of Providence” regardless of the environment or ministry into which they might be placed. Consequently, the Program of Formation is intended to provide applicants the requisite education and understanding to serve in a parish or in an extra-parochial setting. To that end, the mandatory studies at Providence College include:
Fundamentals of Theology
Fundamentals of Moral Theology
Old Testament Scripture
New Testament Scripture – The Epistles
The Gospels of Jesus Christ
Plus courses below:
In addition to courses taught by the Providence College faculty, the Diocese of Providence will also conduct formation courses with faculty from the diocesan community. These courses, usually conducted in a weekend environment will include:
Inter-religious education and related topics
Modern Ethical Problems and End-of-life issues
Extra-parochial ministry and parish ministry
Pastoral Counseling and related topics
Homiletics and Liturgical Practica
Should applicants to the program possess a mastery of Theology?
The Program of Formation assumes no prior knowledge or education in Religious Studies.
Do I need a college degree to qualify for the program?
A college degree is not required, however, all candidates must be able to master materials presented at the graduate school Master’s degree level.
Will the college courses taught at Providence College qualify for my Bachelor’s or Master’s degree?
Through a special agreement with Providence College candidates may take courses for certification, undergraduate credit or graduate credit. Arrangements for each must be made in advance.
Is my spouse allowed to attend classes?
Wives are welcome to attend all formation activities at no cost, except if the candidate’s wife wishes to take courses for credit or for “audit” notation at Providence College. The candidate and his wife will be responsible for the entire cost of her tuition at Providence College.
What is the cost of the Permanent Diaconate Program?
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, through the Catholic Charity Fund, will cover most educational costs for men enrolled in the Permanent Diaconate Program. Exceptions are as follows: during the aspirant phase, all will be obligated to pay for a four volume set of “Liturgy of the Hours” books, approximately $125.00 and during the candidacy phase (2
year of formation), candidates will be responsible for ½ of the tuition for each semester at Providence College. Considering discounts, this will be about $500.00 per course plus the cost of books.
How may I apply for the Permanent Diaconate Program?
Interested applicants may click here for more information on the application process.
Please direct all inquiries, and send completed applications, to:
Deacon James T. Walsh, Director of Deacons
Diocese of Providence
One Cathedral Square
Providence, RI 02903
In addition to an application, are there additional materials I must provide?
Yes. In addition to the application, applicants must provide the following:
- Letter of support for admission to the program from his wife
- Letter in support for admission to the program from the applicant’s pastor
- Letter of support and reference from his employer or a business associate
- Letter of support from a member of the applicant’s parish
- Physician’s statement of the applicant’s physical condition
- Copy of the applicant’s Sacramental Record (with full notations and not more than 6 months old) specifically noting:
- First Communion
- Confirmation and
- Certified birth certificate or proof of U.S. Resident Alien Status.
Is an interview necessary as part of the application process?
Once received and examined, the applicant and his wife will be invited to an interview with the Director of Deacons and/or the Coordinator of Deacon Formation and other assisting deacons and wives as the Director may deem appropriate. In addition, a “home visitation” will be scheduled. The applicant and his spouse are also required to undergo psychological testing and examinations as provided by the Diocese of Providence, BCI and “Triple-I” background checks and criminal investigations. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence maintains a strict policy relative to the protection of children and young adults. A background check conducted by the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office is one of many efforts by the diocese to ensure the safety of the faithful.