Becoming A Deacon
The Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons states “… Moreover, in addition to stability of family life, married candidates cannot be admitted (to formation programs) unless ‘their wives not only consent, but also have the Christian moral character and attributes which will neither hinder their husband’s ministry nor be out of keeping with it.’” Paragraph 37
The Institute for Diaconal Studies (IDS) provides opportunities for growth, enrichment and information needed by wives to make such a decision — to ascertain her compatibility with her husband’s diaconal vocation and eventual ministry, and to offer continued formation so that she may give her informed consent to her husband’s participation. In fact, four times during the formation process, wives are required to give consent for their husband’s continued participation in formation: prior to Candidacy, Institution as Reader and Acolyte, and prior to Ordination.
What is required of wives during the formation process?
Wives are strongly encouraged to participate fully during the Aspirancy Path but may choose a ‘Key Event’ path. If their husbands are called to the three-year Candidacy Path, wives participate in the Women of Witness series. The series focuses on the spirituality and support systems unique to wives of candidates and includes some weeknights, Saturdays, retreats and participation in all Rites, practices and Theological Reflection groups. The series also fosters healthy marriages and the positive role wives play in the formation of their husband and enhances the ability to give informed consent.
Wives of Aspirants and Candidates invariably grow and benefit enormously as they accompany their husbands in the formation program. Candidates and wives are nurtured and nourished by the intellectual and spiritual development of their faith through various classes, presentations. And prayer opportunities. This not only better prepares them for their husband’s ordination and ministry, but allows them to discover their own gifts and talents as they ponder the ministerial possibilities they see for themselves as lay ministers in the Church.
It is important to note, however, that wives of deacons are not conferred any special status, rights or privileges to minister in a parish on the basis of their husband’s ordination. The primary role of a deacon’s wife is to provide support of their husband’s ministry.