Diaconate Formation Program
Since 1972, St. Augustine's has provided a formation program for candidates for ordination to the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese of Toronto. The program is under the direction of the President-Rector of the Seminary.
In September 2004, St. Augustine’s Seminary introduced the Diploma in Theological Studies for the Diaconate Formation Program candidates and those of their wives who choose to pursue it. For details please see the admission requirements for the Diploma in Theological Studies.
Those interested in applying to the Formation Program should call the Office of Clergy Personnel Catholic Pastoral Centre, (416) 934-3400 x304.
The Admissions Committee will notify the candidate of its decision.
Aspirants enter a one-year propaedeutic period of prayer, study and discernment. At the end of the propaedeutic period, the Admissions Committee will decide which aspirants become Formation Program candidates. Those accepted as candidates are required to engage with the formation program for a period of four years. During this time, they attend one weekend a month from September to June at St. Augustine’s Seminary for spiritual, academic and ministerial formation. In addition, they meet in small groups each week for prayer, study, discussion and reflection on a specific topic. During the summer, a course of reading, discernment and service in areas of social concern is expected of them.
This four-year program integrates the spiritual, academic and ministerial dimensions into a preparation that is vital for a person seeking a life of commitment to church service. Such preparation and integration fosters a spirit of community among the candidates and their families.
The spiritual formation process integrates the doctrinal, theological, biblical and ministerial development for the expression of a life lived in Christian faith. The candidates are guided in methods of prayer, contemplation and self-awareness. Candidates are required to make an annual retreat and to have a spiritual director.
The academic curriculum encompasses foundational studies in the Old Testament, New Testament, Christology, Ecclesiology, Moral Theology, Early Christianity, Theology of Ministry, Liturgy, Sacraments, Spirituality, and the Canon Law of Marriage.
On the study weekends, the candidate class meets for communal prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharist, Benediction and meals with the seminarians.
Ministerial development will seek to increase their awareness of social concerns and to prepare them for the various liturgical rites.
In the second year of formation, candidates are instituted to the Ministry of Acolyte and in their third year, to the Ministry of Lector. In preparation for their charitable ministry, the men participate in a six-month Supervised Pastoral Experience under the guidance of a supervisor.
To improve their future ministry of preaching, candidates are expected to prepare homilies and preach in their parishes on a regular basis with the permission of the bishop.
By December of their fourth year, the candidates, having exercised the Ministries of Acolyte and Lector, as well as having discerned their call and ministry of service, publicly express their intention to seek ordination through the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Ordination to the Diaconate.
At the end of the fourth year, upon fulfillment of all program requirements, on the recommendation of the Formation Committee and the Director of the Formation Program, and with the Archbishop’s approval, the candidates are ordained to the Order of Deacon.
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