From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

New deacon formation class begins four-year journey toward ordination

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the Oct. 4, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

The weekend of Sept. 14-16 was the first meeting of a new class of potential deacons for the Diocese of Spokane.

Bishop White Seminary was the site for the class’s initial weekend of information and formation.

Twelve men have been accepted for the new program.

The first year of classes is termed aspirancy. During this time the men will further discern their call to ordained ministry as deacons. They will explore their own spiritual journey so far and expand their understanding of the Church and of ministerial service.

According to Deacon John Sicilia, Director of Deacons for the Diocese of Spokane, the first year “is a time for both the prospective candidate and the diocese to discern the person’s call to candidacy.” The year also serves as a time for the aspirants to become acquainted with the requirements of the three-year deacon formation program which will follow.

Among the topics which will be covered: theology and history of the diaconate; the relationship of the deacon to the bishop, priests, laity; requirements of the deacon formation progam; overview of the academic curriculum and policies; effect of the diaconate on marriage; the call of celibacy; discernment of call; spiritual direction; expectations for prayer and spiritual practice, especially the Liturgy of the Hours; and the role and relationship of mentors.

The formation program tries to help shape deacons into servants. A deacon “personally embodies the call to service, the call for all the baptized,” Deacon Sicilia said.

Once that year of discovery is completed they will become candidates and start an additional three-year process of classes and formation before ordination to the diaconate.

The last class of Spokane Diocese deacons completed formation in 1999.

The 12, with their wives and their home parish and town, are as follows:

  • Douglas and Christine Banks, St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane.
  • Michael and Darlene Barr, St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane.
  • James and Jeannette Barrow, St. Patrick Parish, Walla Walla.
  • Scott and Leah Brockway, St. Augustine Parish, Spokane.
  • Patrick and Jenny Duffy, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane.
  • Michael and Kathleen Ann Miller, St. Peter Parish, Spokane.
  • Allen and Linda Peterson, St. Brendan Parish, Bothell.
  • Rodney and Arlette Popiel, St. Augustine Parish, Spokane.
  • Edward and Karen Schaefer, St. Aloysius Parish, Spokane.
  • Joseph and Nathalie Schroeder, St. Joseph Parish, Colbert.
  • Gary and Chris Veale, St. Charles Parish, Spokane.
  • Patrick and Linda Wolf, Holy Family Parish, Clarkston.

“After this first weekend, I was very impressed with the group’s commitment, with their openness, with their enthusiasm and with their dedication to the four-year process,” said Deacon Sicilia.

Director of deacon formation is Father Mike Kwiatkowski, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Colbert.

Men studying for the diaconate must be at least 35 years old and no more than 70 years old at the time of ordination. They may be married or single; in good health; economically stable and self-sufficient. If married, it must be a valid Catholic marriage, and the potential deacon must have the support of his wife.

The men must be practicing Catholics for at least five years and have received the sacraments of initiation.

They should already model the deacon’s role of ministerial involvement in the life of the faith community, and have recommendations from their pastor as well as other individuals and parish members.

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