National Directory



of the aspirant, including those regarding the wife of a married aspi rant.This handbook is to be approved by the diocesan bishop. 4

193. Because of the aspirant’s secular employment and personal and family commitments, appropriate attention is to be given to the implemen tation of a family life perspective in organizing the aspirant stage. In this regard, the most common formation models that have emerged in the United States of America organize formation meetings on various evenings, weekends, holidays, or a combination of such times. Differ ent ways of organizing the aspirant formation stage are possible. 5 Since the director of formation, in collaboration with those who share in the responsibility for formation, 6 is expected to prepare for the diocesan bishop a declaration of readiness that profiles the aspirant’s person ality and provides a judgment of suitability for candidate formation and ultimately ordination, the aspirant stage of formation must be of an appropriate length. 7 In the diocesan Churches of the United States of America, the aspirant stage of formation ordinarily lasts two years. 194. Although some aspects of the aspirant stage may be linked with other lay apostolate formation programs in a diocese, the aspirant stage must be a distinctive program that provides for a thorough discernment of a diaconal vocation. Therefore, it must include an appropriate initiation into diaconal spirituality; supervised pastoral experiences, especially among the poor and marginalized; and an adequate assessment of the aspirant’s potential to be promoted to candidate formation and ulti mately to ordination. The aspirant stage also must enable the forma tion personnel to create an environment in which the wife of a married aspirant can be appropriately prepared to give her consent to his con tinuation and, more essentially, to ascertain her compatibility with her husband’s diaconal vocation and eventual ministry. 8 195. During this period of discernment, the aspirant is to be introduced to the study of theology, to a deeper knowledge of the spirituality and ministry of

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