One of the biggest changes in our life: my husband was accepted into a year of aspirancy for the diaconate in our diocese. And you're probably asking: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! Well, it means he is one step closer to being accepted into the formation program for the diaconate. Does that clear things up? :o)
In the Catholic Church, a man is ordained into the diaconate. In order to be a deacon, he must have a heart to serve and be willing to do whatever the bishop needs. He ministers in word, liturgy, and charity. Basically, this means he teaches the Word of God in various capacities, assists at the liturgy, and does charitable works (in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.).
To get to this point, we went through a series of interviews, filled out a lot of paperwork, and prayed and prayed!
For Keith, this means taking classes at our diocesan seminary twice a week, doing homework for said classes, and praying more! For me, this means going with him and praying! This year of "aspirancy" is a year of further discernment, as we both get a clearer picture of what it would mean for him to be a deacon. We are both learning and growing. Not always a painless process, but always a good one. At the end of this year, he may be accepted into the formation process, which is another four years of classes, discernment, and, yes, prayer!
The goal of this whole process is not the diaconate, though. As the director of diaconate formation, Fr. Tony said, "The goal of all this is to find the place God has for you in the Church." (Probably not an exact quote, but the essence of what he said.) To change the words of an old Michael W. Smith song just a bit, we're all looking to find our "place in this Church".
At our parish school, the 3rd grade children dress as saints for this day. As we watch them process in, it is such a beautiful reminder of the communion of saints (Hebrews 11:1-12:3)! It is also a great day for us to remember the grace God makes available to all of us, too. He wants us to all be saints!
At the seminary, the chapel altar had a backdrop of the saints, including Blessed Mother Theresa and Blessed John Paul II. Notice, they are all facing toward Jesus. And that is the point of this day: allow their lives to inspire you, but don't stop there! Allow that inspiration to draw you even closer to their Lord.
God bless, and happy All Saints Day!