The Deacon's Bench

Now here’s something I’ve never heard before — but it’s a great sign of the growing importance and value of the diaconate in parish life.

St. Louis evidently takes up an annual collection for Deacon Formation:

The annual Deacon Formation collection, which takes place this weekend, provides financial assistance for men going through the eight-year formation program for the permanent diaconate. That is welcome help, say local priests and deacons, for the men who serve as deacons at parishes throughout the archdiocese.

“Generosity is the one word that jumps out when I think of the permanent deacons,” said Father Michael Witt, director of the archdiocesan Permanent Diaconate Office. He cited the time and money involved: five years of formation in preparation for ordination — permanent deacons are ordained clergy — and three years after ordination, and the cost of books, transportation and tuition.

“And they end up with a job that doesn’t pay anything. No one is paid for doing diaconate work. That is all voluntary,” he said. While there is some compensation for expenses and some tuition assistance, “this collection helps across the board to keep tuition down and provide financial aid when needed for men preparing to become deacons,” Father Witt said. “They are very generous men. And their wives are tremendous supporters, unsung heroes.”

You can read more about all this at the link.

In my diocese, financial support — for classes, supplies and retreats — comes from the individual parishes of the men in formation.

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