Candidates wanted for second class of permanent deacons
by Jessica Langdon
by Jessica Langdon
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — For some men in the archdiocese, this fall will be a time of learning, discerning and praying — leading up to a decision that could shape the rest of their lives.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is taking the first steps toward forming its second class of permanent deacons.
The archdiocesan office of the permanent diaconate will begin accepting applications for the next class of permanent deacons in December. Before a man even asks the office for an application, though, a lot of prayer, discussion and discernment go into the process.
Learning more about the role is a key part of that.
The diaconate office will hold several information sessions in October. The sessions are for anyone interested in learning more about the diaconate, especially men who want to know whether this vocation might be for them. If they are married, their wives are also encouraged to attend because they will play key roles in this discernment.
The first session will be held Oct. 11 at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lansing. The second will be Oct. 20 at Mater Dei (Assumption Church) in Topeka; the third, on Oct. 27 at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park. All sessions start at 7 p.m.
Leon Suprenant, pastoral associate for administration in the diaconate office, plans to add a few more sessions in Wyandotte County and Emporia this fall as well.
Father Gary Pennings, director of the office of the permanent diaconate, associate director Father Greg Hammes, and Suprenant will provide information at the sessions.
Attendees will also hear from deacons who are currently serving in parishes.
That will really give potential candidates a firsthand look at how the vocation works with family life, said Suprenant, or what it’s like to prepare a homily while also working a full-time job.
Those interested in applying for the diaconate will be sent home with some discernment questions to consider in the coming weeks.
“In today’s world, today’s church climate, deacons play a tremendous role in the church,” said Suprenant. “They’re clergy, and yet they’re also in the midst of the world.”
The archdiocese’s first class of permanent deacons was ordained in April, so many area Catholics have now seen deacons both in their churches and out in their communities.
“There’s already a certain kind of built-in interest,” said Suprenant.
But because it’s still a fairly new program for the archdiocese, there is plenty of education yet to do.
From Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann’s radio show to the office’s website — www.archkck.org/deacons — the archdiocese is using various avenues to get the word out about the diaconate. The website also provides a way for men interested in the diaconate to indicate their interest to the diaconate office.
Suprenant urges those who feel this might be a vocation for them to attend one of the sessions.
But entering the diaconate isn’t an overnight process.
Once a class is formed, there is a year of aspirancy followed by four years of candidacy. The next archdiocesan class is scheduled to start in September 2012, with ordination planned for 2017.
A deacon is a minister of word, sacrament and charity.
“They’re like flesh-and-blood icons of Christ the servant,” said Suprenant. “That’s an important witness that we need in today’s world and also allows people to see the face of Christ.”
Diaconate information sessions
The first three sessions are scheduled for 7-9 p.m. on the following dates:
Oct. 11 — St. Francis de Sales Parish, Lansing
Oct. 20 — Mater Dei (Assumption Church), Topeka
Oct. 27 — Holy Spirit Parish, Overland Park
For more information, visit the website at: www.archkck.org/deacons; contact the office by email at: diaconate@arch kck.org; or call (913) 647-0358.