Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

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

Twenty-three men conclude first year of deacon formation program

the Inland Register

(From the June 11, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

This month, 23 men from throughout the Diocese of Spokane conclude the Inquirer stage of their pursuit of the ministry of permanent deacon in the Church.

This first year of formation has focused on learning about the tri-fold ministry of the deacon (Word, Altar and Charity) and engaging in personal discernment of the call to serve as deacon.

The Deacon Formation Program is four years in duration. Consistent with the mind of the Church, it emphasizes the same four major components found in priestly formation: human, spiritual, academic and pastoral. These twenty-three men have been engaged this first year largely in vocational discernment (academic formation and pastoral practice receives emphasis in remaining three years).

Decisions about acceptance as candidates for eventual ordination to the Order of Deacons will be made in late autumn this year. Acceptance into candidacy is not a guarantee of ordination, but questions of suitability for continuation in the formation program should be addressed by the Screening Committee by that time.

The Screening Committee/Formation Team is comprised of: Fathers Michael Savelesky (Director) and Jim Kuhns; Deacons John Sicilia, Chalo Martinez, and Scott Brockway; laypersons Martin Weber, Laurie Stewart (wife of Deacon Kelly Stewart) and Joan Leeds.

The men have met one full weekend (Saturday-Sunday) each month at Assumption Parish, September 2008 through June 2009 (except for a December snow break). The wives of the inquirers are encouraged to attend the major formation sessions.

The program has engaged a variety of presenters and has made ample use of special panels of deacons and wives of deacons. Highlights of the first year of formation include:

• Detailed exposure to the life and ministry of deacons.
• Presentations regarding theological framework for diaconal formation and ministry.
• Exposure to elements of vocational discernment.
• Assignment and use of (prepared) spiritual directors.
• Application of Myers Briggs personality inventory.
• Administration of the Minnesota Multi-Phasic Inventory (MMPI).
• Profiles of Ministry assessment through The Ministry Institute at Gonzaga University.
• Creation of spiritual autobiography.
• Guided reading and reflection papers.
• Break-out discussion groups.
• Homework assignments.
• Continued observation, interview and evaluation by the Screening Committee.

The men who are completing the Inquirer Stage of the Deacon Formation Program are:

  • José Aparicio (Sacred Heart, Brewster)
  • Bonifacio Arebalo (Sacred Heart, Brewster)
  • Craig Blomgren (Assumption, Spokane)
  • Roy Buck (St. Francis Xavier, Spokane)
  • Frank Edwards (St. Michael, Inchelium)
  • Brian Ernst (Sacred Heart, Spokane)
  • Jim Evermann (Sacred Heart, Pullman)
  • Leigh Fitzpatrick (Immaculate Conception, Colville)
  • Cory Fray (St. Peter, Spokane)
  • Dan Glatt (St. John Vianney, Spokane)
  • Tom Heavey (St. Thomas More, Spokane)
  • Jim Kestell (Mary Queen, Spokane)
  • Victor Lopez (Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane)
  • Ricardo Lujano (St. Patrick, Pasco)
  • Perry Pearman (St. Thomas More, Spokane)
  • Allen Peterson (St. Anthony, Spokane)
  • Maclobio Robles (St. Patrick, Walla Walla)
  • Jim Schwarzer (St. Anthony, Spokane)
  • Joe Sehnert (St. Michael, Inchelium)
  • Nick Senger (St. Peter, Spokane)
  • José Torres (St. Joseph, Spokane)
  • Bill Wehmeyer (St. Genevieve, Twisp)
  • John Westover (St. Anthony, Newport)

    (Editor’s Note: The information is based on a May 29 report made to the Presbyteral (Priests) Council by Father Savelesky.)

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