The history of every Christian vocation is the history of an inexpressible dialogue between God and human beings; between the love of God who calls and the freedom of individuals who respond lovingly to him. This calling forth from God is marked first in the reception of the sacraments of Christian initiation. From out of the body of believers Christ then calls some of his disciples, and the Church, discerning their vocational charism, asks the bishop to ordain them to a service of the whole Church. (National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of the Permanent Deacons in the United States)
Through the Church, Christ calls some to ordained service through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Formation for ordination to a diaconal vocation is an intense process consisting of five (5) years, followed by a life-long commitment of continued personal formation and growth. Throughout the process, many people are involved in the discernment of an individual’s spiritual maturity, academic readiness, and pastoral ability for ordination. At any time during this process a man may personally elect either to defer or to discontinue his pursuit of the diaconate. Alternatively, the Archdiocese of San Francisco may, at its option, determine an applicant, aspirant or candidate is not sufficiently suited to continue toward ordination.
Important steps in the process of inquiry and formation are aspirancy, candidacy, ordination and continued formation. Within each of these steps, the process will address four (4) specific areas: the human dimension, the spiritual dimension, the intellectual dimension and the pastoral dimension.
It is anticipated that most applicants admitted to the aspirancy year will be married. Wives will be required to attend all classes, days of prayer, an annual retreat and other events. Participation is required in order to insure spouses have ample opportunity to ask questions and to gain a clear understanding of the diaconate in order to provide an informed consent for their husband’s continued participation.
Interested individuals who consider applying to the deacon formation program should attend an information session held in various locations just prior to an open application period. The applicant must first receive his pastor’s recommendation. The applicant will then receive an application packet directly from the Diaconate Formation Office. Applicants will be interviewed. Selected applicants will be recommended to the Archbishop for acceptance into the aspirancy year of the formation program.