National Directory



III. The Discernment of the Call

177. The first stirrings of a vocation to the diaconate are often explored at a personal level and usually begin with seeking information about the diaconate and formation. Here, an individual initially reflects upon the nature of his perceived call. Primacy must be given at this time to the spiritual dimension, and central to this is spiritual guidance. Pope Francis refers to the “art of accompaniment” as steady and reassuring, encouraging growth in the Christian life. 5 The individual’s pastor and others on the parish staff are particular resources at this time. 178. Because the majority of those who inquire about the diaconate are married, they should be directed to pay particular attention to dis cussing their possible vocation with their wives and families. The ini tial information and conversations with their pastor and others should assist and encourage these discussions. For a married man, the sup port and consent of his wife is required.Therefore, both spouses need to make sure that support and consent, even at this early stage of discernment, arise from an informed understanding. Careful consid eration must be given in those rare cases where an applicant to the diaconal formation program is in a mixed marriage or a disparity of cult marriage. If the applicant is accepted into the program, this sit uation may require additional preparation for the participant and his wife. Many regions and cultures also place emphasis on the partic ipation of the extended family. This, too, is an important resource for discernment. 179. An inquiry and eventual application for entrance into diaconal for mation constitute not just a personal and family journey. The Church must accompany it. The parish is the primary experience of Church for most inquirers. It is the responsibility of this community and, in particular, its pastor to invite from among its members those who may

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