After over a year in the application process Candy and Jay Krueger received a letter from Deacon Craig, who is in charge of Diaconate formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, on the eve of Pentecost (May 26th of this year), stating that they had been accepted into the program. The program is approximately 100 days in duration spread out over 5 years.
On June 3rd, we had our first meeting, received the syllabus and summer reading and homework assignments. It was the first time we had met. There were 12 couples (with an additional couple added later) in the English program and 8 couples in the Spanish program. There are two other couples in the English program that are from parishes without a Deacon. We will be sharing our ideas about catechesis in this area.
Summer came and went and we would get together for a three-day silent retreat at the Mary and Joseph retreat center in Rancho Palos Verdes the last weekend in August. We were able to meet with six other couples prior to the start of the retreat for dinner. A great time was had by all! The majority of the retreat was silent and we learned about how to use various aspects of the Ignatian Annotation’s for prayer. We did have two meals during which we could talk. Those meals were over an hour as we got to know our classmates. The silent meals came and went in under 15 minutes. It was a wonderful, prayerful weekend. Though we have been on many retreats, this was the first one we had been on together.
We attended our first class on September 8th. The day consisted on 2 hours of spiritual direction. This entailed individual spiritual direction, classwork, and group faith sharing. Once this was completed, Deacon Chris arrived and took over. He and his wife Yvonne are from American Martyrs Catholic Church in Manhattan Beach and will be our primary instructors for this year.
We were each assigned and individual spiritual director from the Loyola Institute for Spiritually. Also in attendance were Sister Barbara, Brother Charlie and Agnes who were also from the Institute and conducted out retreat in August. As part of our first year we will complete the 19th Annotation. This involves reading specific scripture passages and praying over it for up to an hour a day. For us, this will continue through June of next year.
After Spiritual Direction, we started our class. We reviewed the class roster to make sure everything was correct, received pictures and names of all of the classes. There are currently 103 couples in various stages of formation in the Diaconate. From the 18 who may be ordained in June of 2013 to the 21 who just started (i.e. us).
We received a revised syllabus and elected class leaders who are responsible for communication to the class, coordinating the pot-lucks for each class, and passing out the assorted material. We were selected as the class leaders.
We reviewed some of our summer homework including an article about what the Diaconate is, a book on Catholic Time Management, and questions on the Bible.
We learned how to conduct a prayer service and were assigned to conduct a prayer service once during this formation year.
Our next class will be on September 22 and will be an all class retreat.
This day went by fast! Candy said that it was Baptism by fire hose!
So, is it worth it? Absolutely!
So, will we make it through the five years and become a Deacon Couple? We don’t know where God will lead us. But, this is our current path.
As with the application process, we concluded that even if we were not accepted into the program, what we learned about our relationship with God and each other made it worth it. The same is true with Diaconate formation. As was said by Deacon Chris, “It is not the destination (i.e. ordination), but rather the journey.” We agree!
Please remember the 97 couples who are in Diaconate formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in your prayers.
If you have any questions on the Diaconate, please ask us or send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We greatly appreciate your prayers and support and will continue to keep you informed of our journey.
Candy & Jay Krueger,
Aspirancy Year, Deacon Couple Formation,
Holy Family Parish, South Pasadena