September 14, 2012

Upcoming meetings will help men learn about the diaconate

The second class of men to be ordained as permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis lay prostrate in prayer on June 23 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Meetings will start soon to help men learn about the diaconate and discern if God might be calling them to this vocation. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

The second class of men to be ordained as permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis lay prostrate in prayer on June 23 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Meetings will start soon to help men learn about the diaconate and discern if God might be calling them to this vocation. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Starting on Sept. 23, the archdiocesan Office of Deacon Formation will start a series of meetings to help interested men learn more about the diaconate and discern if God might be calling them to this vocation.

The seven sessions will occur on a monthly basis at locations across central and southern Indiana, and will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

(See a schedule of the sessions)

The learning and discernment that each meeting will facilitate will lead to the formation of the archdiocese’s third class of deacon aspirants that will begin its formation in August 2013.

Men potentially interested in applying to be a part of the class are asked to attend all sessions.

“The first meeting will probably be for those who really feel that they have a call, plus many of those who are just curious,” said Deacon Kerry Blandford, director of deacon formation for the archdiocese. “Guys will have had the chance to process things and say ‘This is for me’ or ‘Maybe this is for me, but not at this time’—things like that.”

Deacon Blandford said that he would then expect the number of men attending subsequent sessions to be smaller. He said the maximum number of men in the new class will be 25.

Each session will cover various topics related to the diaconate—the diaconate in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the uniqueness of the vocation, its relationship to family and ministry, and the various spheres of deacon formation.

Several deacons and their wives will give presentations at the meetings.

Deacon Blandford said that wives of potential deacon candidates should attend the sessions with them.

“We really ask that the men and their wives attend these sessions so that the wife understands what this will mean to them,” he said. “A deacon’s wife can be very involved [in ministry] or maybe not as involved. It’s up to the individual.”

The first two times that information sessions about the diaconate were held in the archdiocese there were very few permanent deacons ministering at parishes. So few of the men attending them had had any experience of deacons in the life of their parishes.

This time will be different since two classes of deacons have been ordained, and are ministering at parishes across central and southern Indiana.

“I think we’re going to have inquirers who will come with more of a basic knowledge of what the diaconate is,” said Deacon Blandford. “They may have seen deacons in action. Maybe they’ve had a chance to sit down and talk with deacons about the process of discernment.”

Deacon Blandford said that men from parishes that have not yet had a deacon assigned to them are welcome to attend the sessions and apply to become an aspirant.

He said he learned about the permanent diaconate on his own in the mid-1990s, several years before it was implemented in the archdiocese.

At the time, Deacon Blandford, who also serves as parish life coordinator of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis, said he was doing research on the diaconate for a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults presentation.

“You get on the Internet, and suddenly I realized that I had spent three hours bouncing all over the place reading about the permanent diaconate and saying, ‘I think I could do this,’ ” he said. “So when it later popped up in The Criterion, I said, ‘OK. This is it.’ ”

Deacon Blandford is looking forward to meeting men who are now in the position he was in years ago—interested in learning more about the diaconate and wondering if God might be calling them to it.

“There’s going to be a certain joy in seeing guys who are looking seriously at this vocational call in their lives,” said Deacon Blandford, “and helping them discern if this is for them or if it is for them at this time.”
 

(For more information about the upcoming deacon information meetings, call Deacon Kerry Blandford at 317-236-1492 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1492, or send an e-mail to kblandford@archindy.org.)


Deacon information and discernment sessions

All meetings will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call Deacon Kerry Blandford, archdiocesan director of deacon formation, at 317-236-1492 or

800-382-9836, ext. 1492, or send an e-mail to kblandford@archindy.org. Do not call the host parishes for information about the meetings.

  • Sept. 23—St. Lawrence Parish, 6944 E. 46th St., in Indianapolis
  • Oct. 14—Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, 1752 Scheller Lane, in New Albany
  • Nov. 11—St. Andrew Parish, 235 S. 6th St., in Richmond
  • Dec. 16—St. Patrick Parish, 1807 Poplar St., in Terre Haute
  • Jan. 13—St. Barnabas Parish, 8300 Rahke Road, in Indianapolis
  • Feb. 10—Holy Angels Parish, 740 W. 28th St., in Indianapolis
  • March 10—St. Joseph Parish in Jennings County, 1875 S. County Road 700 W., near North Vernon

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