Question from on 04-26-2007:
I have been discerning the Priesthood for almost two years and I decided against it. I feel I am being called to marriage. I do however want to serve the Church in a Lay position. Once Married, I will become a Permanent Deacon. In the mean time, what are some ideas to serve the church? Also, what kind of schooling should I get to help me toward becoming a Deacon. Thanks in advance and God Bless you and your work.
Answer by Fr. Brighenti on 05-02-2007:
Discernment should take place over time and with a spiritual director when you are thinking about vocations. In your case, a retreat might prove to be very beneficial. On retreat you can pray without distraction, seek spiritual counsel from a priest and have the time to sort things out. If there is an Opus Dei Retreat center near you they have great weekend retreats for laypeople. If not you can ask your parish priest and he should be able to direct you to the nearest retreat house.
The reason why I suggest this is the fact they you seem very indicisive on the two vocations, and the diaconate should not be seen as a default from the priesthood, but a vocation in itself.
Every diocese has different stipulations on preparing candidates for the diaconate. In the Metuchen dioces preparation for Holy Orders to the diaconate is a four year process with two evenings a week of lessons given by professors from a acredit college. Again, you can check through your parish priest concerning your diocese's regulations on the diaconate.