Continuing Education Policy for Deacons

The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (“ND”), citing the Vatican Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons (“DMLPD”) provides that “each [arch]diocesan Church is to establish a basic minimum of continuing education hours to be fulfilled on an annual basis by all [arch]diocesan deacons in active service. This would be in addition to time allocated for the annual diaconal community retreat” (no. 267).

The Code of Canon Law provides that clerics are bound to make a retreat according to the prescriptions of particular law (canon 276). With this in mind, the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas requires that the permanent deacon shall make an annual retreat, of at least three (3) days (typically Friday evening to Sunday afternoon), to enhance his spiritual growth and development. It is suggested that, if married, the deacon’s wife also make an annual retreat. The Office of the Permanent Diaconate will offer an annual retreat for deacons. If a deacon desires to fulfill this obligation by attending a retreat other than the archdiocesan-sponsored one, it must be approved by the diaconate office.

The ongoing formation of deacons, like the aspirancy and candidacy stages of formation, must have human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions (ND 257-261), ordered to “continual conversion” (DMLPD 63, 67; ND 251).

Deacons serving the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas will be required to receive a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education (“CE”) per calendar year.

The 24-hour CE requirement is satisfied through a combination of quarterly programs done as a deacon community at Savior Pastoral Center or some other archdiocesan venue (approximately 12 hours total), and 12 hours of individualized formation.

The quarterly archdiocesan sessions will be funded by the diaconate office. The deacons’ wives are cordially encouraged to join their husbands for any and all of these sessions.

The requirement of 12 hours of individualized formation accounts for diverse personal and ministerial needs and interests. This formation could be accomplished through the various means identified in ND 260, including self-study, conferences, workshops, online classes, locally approved programs (e.g., School of Faith, Maryvale, etc.), and programs for specialized ministries. All such formation must be approved by the Office of the Permanent Diaconate in order to qualify for CE credit.

Ordinarily, one hour of credit will be assigned for each contact hour.

For the 12 hours of individualized formation, the Archdiocese will compensate the deacon for 100% of approved course expenses and 50% of travel-related expenses, up to a maximum of $500/calendar year. A deacon may ask his parish or pastoral supervisor for additional assistance, if necessary. After a deacon has received approval for the training by the Office of the Permanent Diaconate, he will receive reimbursement upon submission of receipts and/or invoices.

The foregoing provisions do not preclude a deacon from petitioning the Archbishop to fund additional specialized education or training to meet a pastoral need of the Archdiocese.

Deacons must strive for personal holiness befitting their ministry. If married, the family experience provides many opportunities for growth in personal and communal spirituality. While finding active ministry a source of holiness in itself, the deacon shall allot time for reflective activities that foster growth in holiness. These activities include, but are not limited to, spiritual reading; days of recollection; participation in deacon circles, St. Stephen’s groups or other prayer/support groups; spiritual direction; and retreats. These items are not part of the 24-hour continuing education requirement, but will be reported in the annual self-evaluation form.

A self-evaluation form will be sent to all permanent deacons on which they will report their continuing education hours for the calendar year. These completed forms will be maintained in the file of each deacon that has faculties in the diocese and will become part of his permanent record. The failure to complete and return the forms and/or the failure to attain the minimum of 24 CE hours will necessitate a written explanation from the deacon for his failure to comply with this policy. If it is determined by the Office of the Permanent Diaconate that there is insufficient reason for not having attained the required hours, then the deacon’s file will be submitted to the Archbishop for review.

The record of each permanent deacon’s CE hours will be maintained in his personnel file at the Office of the Permanent Diaconate. The deacon may review his past self-evaluation forms upon reasonable request.