Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
October 24, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 24, 1998
 

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IMPLEMENTING VATICAN II The following August, the apostolic delegate informed the United States bishops that Pope Paul VI had acceded to their request and in November the Bishops' Committee on the Permanent Diaconate was for- mally constituted by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The first guidelines for the diaconate were issued late in 1971. Bishop McDonald's interest in and love for the diaconate was evident soon after he became our bishop in 1972. With his The next diaconate class will begin in January 1999. Already 42 men have applied for the ministry. 58 approval and encouragement the preparatory work was accom- plished regarding all that would be needed in the formation of a diaconate office. Beginning with the selection process of the applicants, through the several years of formation of each class of deacons, Bishop McDonald remained involved with the men and their wives as they went through the process of forma- tion. The first formation group began in 1978 with 16 being ordained in November 1981. In 1986, 18 men were ordained and in 1993 another 18. The bishop ordained the last diaconate class of 12 men on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 1998. Since its inception in this dio- cese, the diaconate curriculum has involved studies in theology, Christology, ecclesiology, Old and New Testament Scripture, sacraments, catechetics, canon law, family life, homiletics and spirituality with other subjects over a three-and-a-half-year span. The former groups have attended approximately 600 Bishop McDonald began prepara" tory work to form a diaconate office soon after he arrived is Little Rock. J hours of classes, both academiC and in spiritual formation. The next diaconate class will begin in January 1999. There are 42 applications and the new dig" conate staff is in the discernrneI t process as to which of these will be recommended to BishOP McDonald for the formation pr0- gram. The next formation claSS will be a four-year progra# designed to include classes neC" essary for the ordained deaC0 to also qualify academically as parish administrator. The new directory for clergy by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, stating rle norms to standardize diacoflare formation throughout the world, is suggesting 1,000 hours for di " conate formation with imple" mentation to begin somewhere around the year 2000. Presently there are 77 deo" cons in the diocese, 12 are retired. These deacons are set" Arkansas Cattld