COLORADO SPRINGS. The Office of the Permanent Diaconate will hold an information session on May 7 at 9 a.m. at St. Peter Parish in Monument. Any men who are interested in learning about the role and ministry of deacons in the Diocese of Colorado Springs are invited to attend. A new class of deacon candidates is expected to begin studies in the fall of 2023, with an eye towards ordination in 2028.
Those who decide that they would like to explore a possible vocation to the permanent diaconate will be invited to attend monthly deacon community meetings, said Deacon Dave Illingworth, Director of the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Colorado Springs.
“We want an inquiry process where they feel welcome to come and be with other deacons, to see who a deacon is and what he does,” Deacon Illingworth said. “We will have sessions in conjunction with our monthly diaconate community meetings for these men to take a good long look. We want them to come with their wives, to attend Mass and to pray with us and really get a good feel for the program before they decide whether to apply.”
The five-year formation program focuses on human, spiritual, theological and pastoral training. Wives are strongly encouraged to participate in the program.
Deacon Cliff Donnelly, Director of Deacon Formation, said that his office is exploring various distance learning options to make the program accessible to men who live outside the Colorado Springs metro area — including those in Douglas County — and to those who have young children at home.
“We are going to make a lot of adaptations to the formation program in the next cohort to accommodate men who live on the outer edges of the diocese and younger men with families,” Deacon Donnelly said. “Right now, all of our formation takes place at St. Peter, which is a nice, convenient location, but we have four men who drive almost an hour to get there. We’re looking at other models that many dioceses around the country are using.”
The diocese is also greatly in need of bilingual deacons, particularly those who speak Spanish, Deacon Donnelly said.
If a man thinks he might have a vocation to the diaconate, he is encouraged to speak to his pastor or to a deacon who is currently serving at his parish, Deacon Donnelly said. They can also contact Deacon Donnelly directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although permanent deacons are often seen at Mass assisting on the altar and preaching, many of the most important ministries carried out by deacons often pass unnoticed, Deacon Illingworth said. These include prison ministry, visiting the sick who are homebound or in care facilities, and marriage and baptismal preparation. In addition, some deacons are involved in unique ministries such as the Military Outreach Ministry that was started by Deacon Ed DeMattee to assist families of deployed and wounded service members.
For more information, contact Deacon Cliff Donnelly at 719-866-6447.