The five-year formation program is divided into three phases. The first year will be one of Aspirancy, devoted to the spiritual formation of the applicant and his wife (if married). It is also a time for the applicant to take a look at the Diaconate Program and examine closely, with prayer and discernment, if you truly feel the call of a diaconal vocation, with all of its blessings and responsibilities, with a total commitment.
The second phase for those selected to continue on as a candidate will consist of three years of academic studies at a graduate level through St. Leo University, a Benedictine university with its main campus in Tampa, Florida. These classes will be held in Dublin, Georgia, one weekend per month. If the student does not currently have a baccalaureate degree, arrangements can be made directly with the University to fulfill the balance of the credit hours leading to an undergraduate degree. The candidate will be required to complete a summer internship during each of these three years in his parish in conjunction with his pastor.
The fifth year of study will be devoted to pastoral formation and practicum. Upon successful completion of all three phases of the Program, those candidates called forward by the bishop will be ordained.
On the Apply to the Permanent Diaconate page, you will find a very comprehensive application which must be filled in completely. The minimum age for a candidate for the program is 35. The maximum age is 60 at the time formation begins. There are two forms that require your signature – a General Release of Information Form and a Permission for a Background Check Form, both to be shared with the Selection Committee. Please send all of the additional required documents including an autobiography and two short essays directly to the Director of the Diaconate Program, P.O. Box 818, Evans, GA, 30809. In the meantime, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me using the form below, or call me at 706-651-8989.
Upon receipt and initial review of completed application, all applicants will be scheduled for an interview with a Selection Committee member. An interview will be conducted with you individually, and then with you and your wife. The final step of the application process will be a psychological examination. There are no exceptions to these.
At the conclusion of the interview weekend, the Selection Committee will meet to select those men who will be invited to enter the first phase of the Formation Program. Notifications, both positive and negative, will be sent out shortly thereafter.
I know all this must sound very intimidating, but it is not meant to be. The role of an ordained deacon in the diocese is, indeed, a very sacred and important trust. Each element of this process is necessary to help us, and you, too, to ascertain the probability of the call to a vocation.
I plan to personally visit each deanery in the diocese in the near future to meet with any men who would like more information on the Diaconate Program. It would be my pleasure to spend time with anyone who has questions. You will be advised of the date and time through your parish.
Deacon Kelley G. Culver, Director