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First formation program for permanent diaconate will begin in the diocese of Saskatoon in the fall of 2018

Permanent Diaconate formation officially will start in fall 2018

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is preparing to launch its first-ever permanent diaconate program in the fall of 2018. 

“The permanent diaconate has commanded a fair bit of time over the last few months, and I am pleased that we are able to move forward with our first cohort who will enter into formation,” said Bishop Mark Hagemoen.

“Dioceses across Canada have established permanent diaconate programs – not necessarily because of need, but because it is a ministry of the Church. As with any diocese, there are men in our diocese who are discerning the call to the Permanent Diaconate,” he said. 

Restored by the Second Vatican Council, the permanent diaconate is open to married men over 35 years of age, and single men over 25 years of age. 

This latest development follows a discernment period that began in the spring of 2013 initiated by then-Bishop Don Bolen, when he commissioned a 12-member committee of clergy, religious, and laity to reflect on how the permanent diaconate would best serve the diocese of Saskatoon. 

“In the fall of 2014, Bishop Bolen accepted the recommendations of this committee to move ahead with a formation program that would feature a strong emphasis on service and outreach. Subsequently, the J.O.Y. program (Justice and Outreach Year of Formation) has provided an opportunity for those interested in the permanent diaconate to experience ministry and service to persons who live in the margins of our communities,” Hagemoen said.           

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) have confirmed formational requirements for permanent deacons that are similar to the requirements for formation for the priesthood, featuring not only academic formation but also ministerial and human formation.           

“Of course, one of the other big issues with permanent deacons is that many of them have a family, and so formation also must address their family context and specifically involve their wives.”           

The bishop added that there are fairly rigorous requirements on the academic front in terms of theological formation.           

“On the ministry and human formation side, there needs to be an initial and an ongoing experience and support for how to live and do ministry. This is probably why a decision was made in our diocese for those interested in the permanent diaconate to participate in the JOY program,” he said.           

“I look forward to working with the team involved to provide a robust formation program that will meet the requirements of the norms, and will serve the development of ministry and service so important for the People of God of our vibrant diocese.” 



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