The month of October is traditionally a time to call our attention to vocations in our Church. Of course, when we say “vocations in our Church” many people will automatically think priesthood, but as well exampled here at Transfiguration a Church’s vocation are much more than priesthood. We are blessed with well-trained lay people on our Parish Staff, more importantly they are deeply dedicated to their ministry. Very honestly, I do not know how we would manage without their dedicated and loving service. Obviously, we also have three ordained people on staff, Deacons Eric and Pat, and myself.
Have you ever considered working for the Church as a lay minister? You may want to start by tipping your toe into the water as a volunteer, I am sure we can help you with finding some ministry. I would also encourage you to speak with a spiritual director and look into taking a class at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. Pray about it!
Then there is the Permanent Diaconate. The deacon is a man of faith, who is called from the community that already recognizes his dedication to service. He makes a lifetime commitment to serving the People of God by proclaiming the Word, assisting and presiding at liturgies, and ministering in the areas of charity and social justice. A deacon gives witness to his availability to the community by addressing present and emerging needs of the Church. If interested in exploring the Diaconate, give me a call and we can begin the conversation. Potential candidate must be at least 35 years of age and no older than 62 years of age at the time of ordination and must be in good health, emotionally mature, have stable relationships and support of his wife (if married) and family.
What about the priesthood? Many of the same qualities needed for the diaconate are needed for candidates for the priesthood. Ideally, candidate should have a college degree, but that is not essential. As you know at this time a person contemplating priesthood must be male and unmarried, but I remain hopeful that may change sometime in the future. The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops will be meeting in November and will discuss the Sixth Edition of the Program of Priestly Formation. They will not be discussing who is qualified to be a candidate, but they are discussing what their training should include. There certainly are those who believe that being trained in monastic spirituality has a place in priestly formation, but an isolated course of formation does not prepare those who are committed to serve in diocesan ministry. The hope is that diocesan seminarians be trained in a much more open setting where the candidates would regularly be exposed to the day-to-day life of the ordinary Catholic. It is my dream that our Church leaders expand formation programs to include greater involvement of lay men and women, and to eradicate the roots of clericalism. If you are thinking about priesthood, I would happy to have a conversation with you.
Let us continue to pray for and take action to bring about peace in our world!
In peace and courage,