For a fourth time, the Archdiocese of Vancouver is praying that the Holy Spirit will call men to serve as permanent deacons. Three years after the first class was ordained, a new cohort is being formed.

Interested men will have the opportunity to discern the diaconal vocation with the help of information sessions beginning April 6. The Saturday morning programs will take place in two locations for the convenience of potential applicants and their wives.

The first gathering takes place at St. Nicholas Parish in Langley on April 6, followed by a second on May 25.

Further west in the Archdiocese, a second pair of information sessions will happen April 13 and May 11 at St. Mark’s College in Vancouver.

The half-day programs include personal witness from deacons and their wives, along with an overview of the theology and history of the permanent diaconate.

Those who decide to further discern a call will be invited to complete an application over the summer so that they can begin initial formation – known as the aspirant path – in the fall. Attendance at the two sessions forms part of the application process, which also involves interviews with the wives of married applicants.

There are presently 24 deacons ministering in the Archdiocese from the two ordained cohorts, with 10 men studying in the third cohort.

“The level of interest in the permanent diaconate seems to have increased recently because more and more people are seeing for themselves how deacons serve,” said Msgr. Gregory Smith, the director of the program.

“And certainly the need for deacons is beyond doubt – as parishes evolve, we’re hearing from pastors who need their support, and Archdiocesan ministries to the poor and marginalized continue to develop.”

See The B.C. Catholic's latest feature article on permanent deacons here.