A Call to Diaconate Service


by Deacon Mike Whitehead

It’s not too late to respond to a continuing call of service in the Diocese of Shreveport, but the clock is ticking.

Bishop Michael Duca is looking for a few more deacons and laymen and laywomen to serve in leadership roles in our churches.

The University of Dallas once again will provide the Diaconate Intellectual Formation Program, along with the Theological Education Formation for those wanting a Certificate of Theological Studies.

This latest formation is scheduled to begin in January 2018.

“The University of Dallas has allowed us to increase the class size so we can offer this opportunity to more of our church community, but the cutoff date is November 13,” said Deacon Clary Nash, formation director. “Just email me that you are interested (cnash@dioshpt.org), then go the Diocese of Shreveport website under Ministries and Permanent Deacons for all the forms.”

This is a four-year diaconal formation of prayer, study and pastoral training. Course work will cover a wide range of topics, from philosophy and theology, to scripture and homiletics. Pastoral training will encompass a variety of ministries, including sacraments, parish social concerns and parish administrator training.

The Theological Education for Transformative Services Program is open to and beneficial for those who serve in a variety of leadership positions. Just a sampling of the course work being offered includes:

•  Christian Spirituality
•  Synoptic Gospels
•  The Catholic Church in America.
•  Introduction and History of Liturgy
•  Bioethics: Medical and Moral Ethics

This formation will mark the third group of permanent deacons to be ordained in our diocese. The first group of men was ordained in 2004 and the second group was ordained in 2014. Presently, 32 men are actively serving as permanent deacons in our diocese.

Since the year 2000, deacons of Shreveport have answered the call to service. They help make Christ more relevant, human and understood in the world. They give witness to Christian values in the marketplace as ordained ministers. Deacons are called to leadership, to find ways to promote justice and charity and support Christian values in the world, in the name of the Catholic Church.

Catholic deacons are ordained to serve and called to speak in the name of the Catholic Church. He is called by his community to serve his diocese, his community and anyone in need.

His motivation is to know the heart of God and to be that heart of God for God’s people. As an ordained minister of the Catholic Church, the deacon serves in four areas:

•  Word
•  Sacrament (or liturgy)
•  Charity
•  Pastoral Governance

If you feel called by God to serve God’s people in one or more service areas, and enjoy doing that; if you are at least 35-years-old; and if you have leadership ability, perhaps you ought to pray for the gift of discernment of your vocation, and talk with your pastor about the permanent diaconate.

“As a deacon for the past 30 years, my life has been enriched and rewarded in so many different ways as they are incalculable, Deacon Nash said. He will once again be the director of this formation. Deacon Nash also served as formation director for the past two diaconate formations in our diocese.
For more information, please go to the diocesan website, www.dioshpt.org/ministries/permanent-diaconate/ or call Deacon Clary Nash at 318-868-4441.

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