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Skip Navigation LinksADLA Administrative Handbook > Chapter 5 - Personnel > 5.14 - Clergy-Deacons > 5.14.5 - Ongoing Formation and Spiritual Development

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5.1       Ongoing Formation

Ongoing formation is a core value for all clergy in the archdiocese. Ongoing formation is necessary for the minister to enhance his spiritual life and his pastoral, leadership, and administrative skills. In this archdiocese, ongoing formation consists of two components:

1)   Continuing Education (a minimum of 20 hours per year), and

2)   Spiritual Development (including one annual retreat)

Every deacon in active ministry is encouraged to prepare a plan for his own ongoing formation and share his personal plan with key people, including his wife, his spiritual director, his priest supervisor and the leadership of his parish or place of ministry. To the greatest extent possible, deacon wives should participate with their husbands in ongoing formation.

5.2       Formation for Newly Ordained

For the first three years following ordination, the deacon's annual 20-hour continuing education requirement shall include attendance at the Post-Ordination Formation Program offered by the archdiocese.   The Post-Ordination Formation Program consists of four (4) 3-hour classes per year (12 hours total) on topics specifically geared to newly ordained deacons.  Classes are held at a central location and are spread throughout the year.  Deacon wives are encouraged to attend these classes with their husbands.   A member of the Deacons Post-Ordination Committee will notify new deacons of the schedule for these classes shortly after their ordination.  An additional eight (8) hours of continuing education shall be completed to meet the 20 hour requirement for the first three years following ordination.

5.3       Continuing Education

Continuing education opportunities in areas directly pertaining to diaconal ministry, which meet the following guidelines, can be counted toward the annual continuing education requirement:

    1. Certificate courses, instructional seminars, workshops or conferences
    2. Courses offered by archdiocesan offices (Office of Religious Education, Office of Worship, Office of Family Life, etc.)
    3. Courses offered by other diocesan offices or religious institutes
    4. College courses (attended in-person or online)
    5. Adult enrichment/faith formation courses offered at local parishes
    6. Regional deacon meetings which include a speaker (one hour may be claimed for each regional meeting up to a maximum of 4 hours/year) 
    7. Self-study projects - individual reading, listening to tapes, viewing video, and other similar forms of self-learning (up to a maximum of 8 hours/year)

The following activities shall not be applied toward the ongoing formation requirement:

    1. Travel to and from the place where instruction is given
    2. Informal meetings and conferences
    3. Prayer services and liturgies
    4. Spiritual direction sessions
    5. Pastoral Council or committee meetings
    6. Social gatherings
    7. Diocesan boards and committee meetings
    8. Administration and business meetings
    9. Deacon Council meetings
    10. Courses not related to ministerial service

5.4       Spiritual Development

Per Canon 276, all deacons, in their pursuit of a life of holiness, are required to:

  1. Fulfill faithfully the duties of their diaconal ministry
  2. Nourish their spiritual life regularly from the two-fold table of sacred scripture and the Eucharist
  3. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily (Morning and Evening Prayer at a minimum)
  4. Attend a spiritual retreat at least once a year
  5. Engage in regular daily prayer, approach the sacrament of penance frequently, honor the Virgin Mother of God with particular veneration, and use other common and particular means of sanctification.

Each deacon is expected to have a spiritual director and meet with him/her regularly.  The Director of Deacons or the Vicar for Clergy Office can provide spiritual director referrals to deacons who wish such assistance.

5.5       Annual Deacon Retreats

All deacons in active ministry are required to attend at least one spiritual retreat per year.  The Office of Deacons in Ministry currently sponsors several weekend retreats annually, one of which the Deacon is expected to attend.  Wives are encouraged to accompany their spouses on these retreats.  A deacon, with the permission of his pastor, may attend a spiritual retreat other than the ones offered by the Office of Deacons in Ministry.  The Director of Deacons may dispense a deacon from this requirement for a serious reason, such as health, upon receiving a written request from the deacon. 

 5.6       Payment for Ongoing Formation and Retreats

All deacons in active ministry in the archdiocese are entitled to an annual maximum of $1,200 in ongoing formation funds and $700 to fund a personal annual retreat, paid by the location to which they are assigned. The ongoing formation funds may be used by the deacon for ministry-related materials (including professional books, periodicals, and journals), classes, professional conferences, and workshops.  Ongoing formation funds are intended for individual personal development, not for workshops and seminars in which staff members are required to participate. Ongoing formation funds are not to be used for personal vacations.  Retreat funds may only be used for an approved spiritual retreat.

5.7       Reporting

At the beginning of the calendar year, all deacons in active ministry shall submit to the Office of Deacons in Ministry a completed Ongoing Formation Log Sheet reporting the continuing education and spiritual retreat that he completed during the prior year.  Ongoing Formation Log Sheets are available from the Office of Deacons in Ministry and shall be submitted by March 1st.



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