National Directory



149. The participation of a wife in her husband’s formation program strengthens their awareness of the husband’s diaconal vocation and helps the wife to accept the challenges and changes that will take place, should her husband be ordained. It also provides an opportunity for those responsible for diaconal formation to assess whether she has “the Christian moral character and attributes which will neither hinder [her] husband’s ministry nor be out of keeping with it.” 59 To help the participant’s wife to give an informed consent to her husband’s request for ordination, it is necessary to include appropriate resources and pro gramming addressed to her. Spiritual direction may be made avail able to her while her husband is in formation. When workshops and spiritual exercises for wives are planned, wives should be consulted to ascertain their questions and concerns. While every effort ought to be made to provide scheduling and material assistance to make wives’ participation possible, care must simultaneously be taken to keep clear the essential distinction between ordained and familial life and the clear independence of diaconal ministry. 60 The level of expected participation of the wife in the formation process should consider her responsibilities to family and work. Care also should be extended to those who are recently widowed—normally, at least three years should elapse prior to acceptance. Those recently married should live their married vocation for five years prior to requesting admittance. 150. Given that the married deacon should be a model for Christian family life, careful examination of a participant’s marital history is essential. Men who are in an irregular marriage and have not yet approached a marriage tribunal, or men who are discovered to be in a marriage celebrated without canonical form which has not yet been convali dated, cannot be considered for a diaconal formation program until their marital status is regularized in the Church. Men who have been civilly divorced must receive a declaration of nullity prior to entry into a diaconal formation program. Any irregularities need to be resolved prior to entry into a formation program. The circumstances

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