Deacons are part of a permanent order in the Church and important for the life of the Church. This major order is not to be considered simply a “stepping-stone” to the priesthood. Deacons form a visible sign of the working of the Holy Spirit through their life of service in the Church. The diaconate is largely a parish-based ministry, but always with the challenge to broaden its service. Deacons allow for the liturgical services to be conducted in their fullest form. They provide additional ministry such as visiting the sick, elderly, and bereaved, maintaining the parish’s finances and property, and assisting in sacramental preparation. The diaconate is an ecclesial ministry of service that can deepen a man’s own spiritual life and give him a more powerful sense of purpose and place in life.
Preparation for the diaconate typically consists of a four year formation program. The Byzantine Catholic Seminary’s School of Diaconate Studies has as its focus the intellectual pillar of formation while maintaining reference with the human, spiritual, and pastoral pillars. The Seminary’s academic program is a certificate program that includes two weeks of intensive classes on campus in the month of June for each of the four years. These classes are followed, each year, by a program of distance learning through guided reading and the writing of papers. The Seminary provides guidelines for pastors, mentors, and spiritual directors who provide for the remaining areas of formation as determined by the deacon student’s eparchy.
Entry into the program is every four years. Individual eparchies handle the application process in a manner similar to that for priestly formation applicants. By the 31st of January, approximately four and a half months before the program begins at the Seminary, applications are due at the Seminary office from the sponsoring hierarchs’ vocations office. Applications are not sent to the Seminary by the applicant. For deacon students the Seminary need not be sent the entirety of the application packet as its focus is the intellectual pillar of formation. What the Seminary requires for the admissions of each deacon student is:
All of the above must be received in the Seminary office by the 31st of January, approximately four and a half months before the beginning of a new program. New programs begin every four years.
The 2019-2023 class of the School of Diaconate Studies meet at B.C.S. according to the following schedule:
Annual tuition for the duration of the four-year program (2019-2023) is $2,750. This annual tuition does not change in the course of a four-year program. Tuition covers: