The Diocesan Formation Program for Deacons is a five-year process. It begins with an initial period of discernment in which a man prays about a vocation to the diaconate, discusses it with his wife, seeks the endorsement of his pastor and meets the criteria set up for the program.
Each year, the Ministry of Clergy in the Diocesan Office of Clergy holds Discernment Information Sessions for potential candidates and their wives. Deacons and members of the staff discuss the diaconate as a ministry of service and a public and permanent commitment to serve God and His people.
Following these evenings, the potential candidates are invited to petition for the Application Forms. Once these forms are completed and returned, interviews are conducted and potential candidates undergo psychological testing. Successful applicants will be invited to begin the five-year course of study and spiritual formation. The process of discernment, on the part of the candidate and his wife and the Office of Clergy, continues through the entire period of formation, enhanced by annual review boards with the candidate and his wife and their pastor.
After acceptance into the five-year formation program, the candidate takes part in classes two nights weekly from September to May. Classes will be held at both Georgian Court University, Lakewood, and the Diocese of Trenton Pastoral Center, 701 Lawrenceville Road, Trenton, NJ.
A retreat is scheduled each year for candidates and their wives, except in the fifth year when candidates alone make a pre-ordination retreat.
The next Discernment Information Sessions will be held on yet-to-be determined dates in the fall at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Attendance at one of these sessions is mandatory for men seeking to apply for the program. Wives are required to attend with their husband.
Pre-registration is required and may be completed by contacting Deacon Michael Riley, Associate Director of the Office of Clergy, 609-403-7134 for registration or further information.