I have been quite remiss in my updates on my application to enter the Permanent Diaconate. Since I last blogged about it, I had my perceiver interview, submitted my full application and have had my home interview.
The Perceiver Interview was done about a week or two after the last post in early October on a Wednesday. I met with Deacon Gerry at his parish and had a wonderful interview. He told me going in that he would just ask the questions and not comment, except to prod me to stop if I were pummelling an expired equine as it were. By the end of the interview he was making positive comments and really seemed positive about the whole process.
As we were walking out, I asked how long the decision process took and he said about 2 weeks or so. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I said I was mainly trying to gauge when to start getting nervous, as I was trying to take the whole process one step at a time. He then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t have anything to worry about.
That was certainly encouraging to say the least.
So, Mrs. Fric and I go to a Marriage Encounter Weekend not thinking much about the results yet. However, when we got back Sunday afternoon, a letter from the Diaconate Office was waiting for us. I had made it into the next round and enclosed was my full application. That was really FAST.
Unfortunately, I sat on the application for about 6 weeks. I had filled out part of it and was kind of wondering what to put in the biography. Really I fretted over it quite a bit. I had finally resolved to get it done no matter what the coming weekend. Mrs. Fric had already given me her part and I had no excuse. Oddly enough, Deacon Bob emailed me the next day asking me when he could expect the application as he wanted to get me scheduled for the home interview and psych evaluation as soon as possible before the rush of last minute apps happened.
OK. He was already planning on getting me that far? Cool! Still, I was nervous about the app. I actually wrote 3 and a half pages for my bio and upon advice from fellow Maniac, Deacon (who will finally be ordained into the Diaconate August 23, 2008), cut it down by half.
So, I get it in the mail on Monday and by the end of the week I have my response. I have been moved on to the next stage, the home interview. This is early/mid December at this point. I figure we will hear from the Deacon couple after Christmas most likely. I was kind of getting anxious when we were into January before I got their call. I was literally going to call Deacon Bob about it the next day when I got the call and set the appointment.
The Deacon couple plus the lay representative on the Selection Committee came over and talked with us for about an hour, less time than I though they would. Normally they separate the applicant couple and talk about the commitment and make sure both are on the same page. They actually skipped this for us since Mrs. Fric is the one who initiated this process. She was the one who decided it was time and pushed me along into doing it now instead of later.
The interview went very well I though and Deacon Dave even said he didn’t think some things that are common with converts (ministry formation and religious formation) would be an issue. Apparently some applicants are so new that they still have Protestant things to unlearn. Since pretty much all my religious formation has truly been Catholic, I have no ingrained habits to unlearn. This is all on this past Wednesday evening.
Yesterday the letter came in the mail, much like after the Perceiver Interview. I have been moved on to the next and pretty much last step, the psychological profile. This, like the Home Interview, is done as a couple. As I understand it, we take a 500+ question survey and have a personal interview with the psychologist separately. Then we go back for the results. Hopefully we will get this scheduled quickly. According to the other couple in my parish that has already been accepted, it’s about 3 weeks to get the results.
Presuming we make it past this step, all that would be left is the formal meeting with our Archbishop where he says “I accept you” which makes it official. They say that this meeting is largely a formality. No one can recall of hearing someone getting to the Archbishop and not getting in. Rarely do couples get to the psych profile and not make it too. I still am going to take it one step at a time, though I can nearly taste it, I am so close!
So, we are almost there. It’s been very interesting how we’ve been getting subtle hints that we are on track and seem to be expected to make it in. For the last month or more, I have been getting the emails that go out to the Deacon Community. Those of us in process currently also got the schedule for the next year from Deacon Bob. He prefaced it saying he wanted all of us to get ready schedule wise as he expected everyone receiving the schedule to make it in.
I am excited to no end. The more and more I think about it and what it means for me, it seems right and true that this is His Will for me and us as a family. And I sincerely pray that if it isn’t, I realize that and let it go. I’d be disappointed of course, but many of the things I can offer the Church, I can offer as a lay person. Not all, as I believe I am well suited to the preaching and teaching aspect of the ministry.
No matter what, all I want to do is serve Him.