National Directory



to consider the life and ministry of priests within the Church in order “to close this gap on behalf of priests with the completion of some important initiatives . . . for example . . . the publication of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis 31 and, as an implementation of this document, the Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests . 32 ” 33 9. Seeking further to promote “a certain unity of direction and clarifi cation of concepts, as well as . . . practical encouragement and more clearly defined pastoral objectives,” 34 the Congregation for the Clergy and the Congregation for Catholic Education organized a plenary assembly to study the diaconate.This gathering responded to concerns that had surfaced through the ad limina visits and reports of the bish ops since the restoration of the diaconate had begun. 35 The members of the congregations and their consultants convened in November 1995. St. John Paul II met with the participants and focused his comments on the identity, mission, and ministry of the deacon in the Church. 36 10. Following this plenary assembly, the Congregation for the Clergy pub lished a Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons; and concurrently the Congregation for Catholic Education issued Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons . Both documents pro vide episcopal conferences with directives and norms on the selec tion, formation, and pastoral care of aspirants, candidates, and dea cons in accord with the intent of the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent teachings of St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II. 37 These documents were promulgated as a joint text by St. John Paul II on February 22, 1998, the Feast of the Chair of Peter. 38 11. Between 1995 and 1996, the NCCB’s Bishops’ Committee on the Diaconate, under the chairmanship of Most Rev. Dale J. Melczek, issued three documents: (1) Protocol for the Incardination/Excardination of Deacons , (2) Policy Statement: Self-Study Instrument and Consultation

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