National Directory



leadership in diaconal ministry require that a deacon be a knowledge able and reliable witness to the faith and a spokesman for the Church’s teaching. Therefore, the intellectual dimension of formation must be designed to communicate a knowledge of the faith and Church Tradition that is “complete and serious,” so that each participant will be prepared to carry out his vital ministry. 29 “The commitment to study, which takes up no small part of the time of those preparing for the [diaconate] . . . is not in fact an external and secondary dimension of their human, Christian, spiritual and vocational growth. In reality, through study, especially the study of theology, the future [deacon] . . . assents to the word of God, grows in his spiritual life and prepares himself to fulfill his pastoral ministry.” 30 128. Deacons must first understand and practice the essentials of Christian doctrine and life before they can communicate them to others in a clear way in their ministries of word, liturgy, and charity. Sacred Scripture is the soul of the program. Around it are structured the other branches of theology. Liturgical studies are to be given prominence, as the par ticipants are prepared to lead the faith community in prayer and sac ramental life. Preaching, with its preparation and practice, requires a significant segment of time in the program of study. Attention should also be given to topics reflecting the specific needs of the Church in the United States of America: (a) a family life perspective; (b) respect for and understanding of our national multicultural diversity and the incorporation of the Gospel into all aspects of society; (c) the social dimension of the Gospel as taught by the Church, especially in the social encyclicals of the popes; (d) an understanding of issues of partic ular concern for the Church in the United States of America and sig nificant documents of the USCCB; and (e) the study of the beliefs and practices of other religions and Christian denominations—deepening a spirit of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. Ample opportuni ties also need to be given for participants to study and practice mis siology—learning how to evangelize—so as to form deacons who will Intellectual Dimension Objectives

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