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be appropriate to promote an in-depth and systematic study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to introduce the aspirant to the traditions of Catholic philosophy, spirituality, doctrine, and canon law, especially the doctrinal and canonical understanding of the diaconate and the threefold ministry of the deacon. The aspirant also should be taught how to participate in a theological reflection group and how to develop his ability to apply the Church’s teaching on moral matters, including social teaching, to the pressing moral questions that emerge in pastoral ministry. Such intellectual pursuits assist those responsible for formation in assessing the aspirant’s readiness for the academic rigors of candidate formation. Further, he should be made aware of the needs of the people of the diocesan Church, as well as of his own parish, and be made to understand diakonia as a descriptive word for the mission of the Church in the world. Workshops on family issues, personal health, time management, caregiving skills, and married and celibate spirituality all contribute to an aspirant’s human, spiritual, and intellectual formation. 205. The focus of the pastoral dimension in the aspirant stage of formation is ultimately the discernment of the aspirant’s gifts for the threefold ministry of word, liturgy, and charity and of his capacity to make a lifelong commitment to these ministries. It also enables an assessment of his wife in her readiness to give consent and support to his voca tion and ministry. Pastoral formation should introduce the aspirant to the practical services provided by the diocesan Church, and it should explore the core social issues confronting the diocese. Exemplary dea cons or priests, approved by the diocesan bishop, should serve as men tors 14 inviting the aspirant to accompany, observe, assist, and reflect upon the specific diaconal ministries experienced. 15 Appropriate ecu menical pastoral experiences should be considered and implemented as opportunities emerge. Opportunities should also be provided, when possible, for involvement with the Jewish community and with repre sentatives of other religions. Pastoral Dimension

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