Deacon Ordination

Vision of the Permanent Diaconate Programme

The Oscott programme, under the patronage of the martyrs St. Stephen and St. Lawrence, endeavours to base itself on, and develop in its students, a solid appropriation of the spiritual-doctrinal foundations of the diaconate. We work closely with the bishops and diocesan directors in order to develop a shared vision. The programme is not a scaled-down version of the seminary course, nor a topped-up catechetics course, but starts from the actual and anticipated needs of diaconal ministry today.

We offer formation for new diaconal ministries within the local Church with a keen sense of mission and a stress on working for evangelisation and vocational discernment. Permanent deacons ordained from Oscott will have a clear understanding of the relationship of the bishop and the diocesan diaconate, as outlined in the documents of the Magisterium. Part-time learning is not spare-time learning: the programme of formation is demanding and requires a firm commitment from the candidate.

Candidates are encouraged to become ever more convincing signs and instruments of Christ the Servant, avoiding clericalism and false dichotomies between the doctrinal and the pastoral. They will be collaborative ministers. They will be devout and thoroughly faithful to the Church and her teaching, and yet flexible and open to new ideas, methods and approaches. They will learn to work ecumenically. They will be men of justice and social responsibility. We hope too that they will become inspired evangelists, able to engage confidently in conversation with all people of good will, and yet also be men of critical reflection on matters to do with contemporary culture. The Oscott deacon should be someone willing to keep himself up to date in both theological and secular knowledge, a man of imagination and zeal, anxious to devise new ways of evangelisation that capture peoples’ imaginations and enable the Gospel to be proclaimed in all the contemporary cultural sectors.

The knowledge, understanding and skills that we hope a deacon will acquire through the Oscott programme could be expressed as follows, although the list is not exhaustive. In general, he will be a man

  • configured to Christ the Servant, above all, a man of prayer
  • of mission and evangelisation, striving for the Kingdom
  • of the Church with a broad vision, but not clerical
  • who knows his faith, who knows contemporary culture and who tries to keep up to date
  • who is a collaborative, ecumenical and sincerely ‘dialogical’ minister, devout, flexible, zealous and imaginative
  • committed to ongoing spiritual and professional development
  • who loves people and is able to relate well (listening as well as talking)
  • able to live out his vocation in a work context
  • able to coordinate and balance family, work and ministerial commitments
  • who is not parochial
  • able to collaborate effectively with the Bishop, local clergy and other ministers

As a Minister of the Word, he will be

  • able to proclaim the Gospel and preach effectively at Mass and in the Liturgy
  • able to read the signs of the times in the light of Christ and to critique structures
  • able to catechise and instruct others, with all the pastoral care involved

As a Minister of the Altar, he will be

  • liturgically proficient and effective
  • able to celebrate baptisms and all the pastoral care involved
  • able to celebrate funerals and all the pastoral care involved
  • able to celebrate marriages, prepare couples for marriage, care for and support married couples, counsel those in difficulty
  • able to care for the sick, visit hospitals and all the pastoral care involved

As a Minister of Charity, he will be a man

  • of justice and social concern, truly a ‘bridge’
  • someone able to liaise with social agencies, take local initiatives, become involved with local structures and charities, the local school, etc
  • keen on acquiring a knowledge of allowances and assistance for the needy
  • able to visit prisons with all the pastoral care involved
  • able to help with parish administration
  • with a sincere knowledge and love of the people and contexts to whom he is sent