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Our Formation

Theological and Pastoral Formation
National Conference of Catholic Bishops
along with the
Archdiocese of Los Angeles, California

The Diaconate Formation Program for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has three main components, all of which are interrelated. The THEOLOGICAL dimension of the program helps the deacon candidates become knowledgeable and reliable witnesses of the faith and spokespersons for the Church's teaching. In keeping with the guidelines for diaconate formation as established by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, our program includes the following with regard to theological formation: the study of Sacred Scriptures, Theological Foundations, Christology, Ecclesiology, Ecumenism, Church History, Sacraments, Catholic Social Teaching, Liturgy, Canon Law, and Christian Morality (in both its personal and social dimensions). Since an important objective of the formation program is to prepare candidates to be effective in pastoral ministry, this theological component is very much oriented toward giving those in formation the appreciation and knowledge of the faith which is needed to carry out the ministry of service, Word, and sacrament.

Our formation program also has a strong PASTORAL focus. During the years of formation, candidates are involved in a variety of ministries which help them become more aware of the needs and mission of the local Church. They Experience hospital ministry, outreach to the homeless, ministry to the imprisoned, family life ministry, and much more. Theological reflection and ministry assessments are important dimensions of the candidates' pastoral formation. Also, there are a variety of subjects to help participants become skilled in pastoral practice. Among these subjects are the following:

Furthermore, throughout the years of formation, candidates become sensitized to the ethnic realities of the Archdiocese. In this regard the Office of Hispanic Ministry, the Office of Asian Pacific and Ethnic Groups, and the Office of African-American Ministry are of assistance.

The SPIRITUAL component of the formation program is designed to help integrate the theological and pastoral dimensions. In addition to their formal study of Scriptures, those in formation make use of a tool called The Reverent Approach to the Word of God to help them appreciate the living Word in their personal lives and in their faith community. Through their participation in the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, and prayer services, the candidates and their wives come to a fuller understanding and appreciation of the need to deepen their prayer life on all levels: personal, familial, communal, and liturgical. The academic curriculum includes the study of Spirituality and Prayer so that participants become more acquainted with the Catholic spiritual tradition. Those in formation are given the experience of the Ignatian Exercises as one means of further discerning their vocation to diaconal life and ministry. In order to help them in their endeavors to know themselves more fully and to live reflectively, the candidates and their wives are given the experience of participating in personal and relational growth programs such as Personality and Human Relations (PRH). As part of the curriculum, there is also an introduction to spiritual direction. Those in formation are strongly encouraged to seek a spiritual companion to assist them in their spiritual journey. In their four years of formation (ours was five years), the participants develop a strong sense of Christian community through shared Eucharist, shared prayer, shared work, shared meals and relaxation, and shared conversation.

The entire program follows an adult learning model which includes presentations, shared reflections, and group processes.

Theological Formation

Pastoral Formation

Spiritual Formation