“I perceive the Holy Spirit calling me”

Byzantine Catholic Seminary School of Diaconate Studies welcomes new class

By John “Randy” Tomko
St. Michael, Hermitage, Pa.

As a current first year student in the School of Diaconate Studies of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, I have begun a four-year program of formation and discernment for the Diaconate in the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church.
A two-week intensive course of study which began on June 18 is followed by home distance learning through further reading and the submission of written assignments over the course of the following year.

The curriculum is focused on the educational component of formation, while the spiritual and pastoral components are primarily accomplished within the candidate’s home parish under the guidance of his pastor or another selected mentor.

I applied to the Archbishop to be accepted as a deacon student because I perceive the Holy Spirit calling me to serve God in the Order of Deacon. With the support of my wife, Patty, and aided by my parish priest and a few close friends, I decided that I should discern this.

My two weeks at the Seminary have been a challenge academically; however, living the Christian life is also a challenging endeavor.

Currently, there are 15 deacon students representing all four eparchies of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Church in the U.S. We have bonded during the first two-week session at B.C.S. since we have the common goal of serving the Church.

During the day we are involved in liturgical services, classroom work, and communal meals as a group. These have afforded us the opportunity to become better acquainted with each other while simultaneously allowing us, as a group, to better emulate the image and likeness of Christ.

These weeks have been both informative and transformative in giving each of us the opportunity to further grow and discern our vocation.

Our hope is to develop into better Byzantine Catholics and to serve the Body of Christ within our own parishes as a Deacon.

We ask for prayers during our formation and discernment so that we can be transformed into living icons of that to which God is calling us.