Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Designed for the Diaconate

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Addressing All Aspects of Deacon Formation

The deacon is ordained specifically for the ministry of proclamation and instruction, of sanctification in the sacramental life of the Church, and of charity and assistance. Programs that prepare deacons within the context of other ministry preparation programs sometimes lose a sense of the particular ministerial identity of the permanent deacon.

Saint Meinrad's program is designed to appreciate and foster the charism of the diaconate and its unique ministry, integrating it into every activity of the formation period. 

Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology’s Permanent Deacon Formation Program engages candidates in the study of theology as preparation for the ministry of the permanent deacon and for personal growth and development.

A four-year curriculum is balanced and integrated, with each course complementing the others in content and purpose. And while the curriculum is carefully designed, there is possibility for some flexibility of courses and schedule of classes to meet the particular needs of each diocese.

All courses are taught face-to-face, using qualified instructors, onsite in the diocese. Personal interaction between instructors and candidates ensures that the candidates are fully engaged in their theological education. Online, video and Web courses are not part of Saint Meinrad's Permanent Deacon Formation Program.

Although classes are taught at the graduate level, the Saint Meinrad program is, first and foremost, a formation program, and no degree is awarded upon its completion.

A degree-granting program risks placing qualifications and restrictions on the admission of candidates, which might be incompatible with the needs and priorities of the dioceses. A degree program would also make demands of candidates that could take away from their attention to discerning a vocation while continuing to meet commitments of work and family.

Nurturing prayer and holiness is the foundation of all Christian learning and ministry. The spiritual formation component of the permanent deacon formation seeks to foster integration of the candidate’s awareness of his discipleship within an evolving understanding of the theological disciplines.

Spiritual formation is supported through an emphasis on the importance of daily Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, retreats, spiritual direction and participation in theological reflection groups.

Quality formation in the skills necessary for ministry has been a hallmark of Saint Meinrad’s formation programs from the beginning. Skills in preaching, liturgical presiding, parish and diocesan administration and leadership, religious education and pastoral care form the baseline of areas of expertise for permanent deacons. 

Because of the centrality of the ministry of the Word to the deacon’s work, a seven-day homiletics workshop at Saint Meinrad is included as part of the formation program.