Reflections along the way

2016 Deacon Formation Program

from the Office of the Deacon Formation Program

“I am not only trying to listen better, but I realize that I am hearing in a new way … I find that I am much more attentive to those around me, especially to my wife and children … Because of this, I am more reflective and my life seems to be more focused …”

No, this is not an ad for a new hearing aid device! Rather, it captures some of the reflections of the men as they began their second year of the four-year Deacon Formation Program at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Program opened on Sunday evening, 12 June 2016, with 18 deacon students gathering to share the ways in which their lives have changed over the past year. The studies in which they have been engaged, the books read and the papers written, the expanding and the deepening of their prayer life, the conscious effort to enter into the formation process, have all worked together to bring about some wonderful and unforeseen gifts in their lives.

Yes, they have continued to be loving husbands and fathers, they have continued in their livelihood and other activities, they have deepened their commitment and involvement in their parish life, but amid all this, there has been a subtle yet very real development in their spiritual lives. They are truly growing in their vocation to service in the Church as they discern their call to the diaconate.

The veneer of the initial hesitancy and reticence of last year has given way to a lively spirit of exchange, much animated laughter, heart-felt discussions and sharing of life stories – in a word, a wonderful oasis of spiritual formation that is the heart of this two-week educational and formational time.

Many long hours are spent in class learning scripture, theology, liturgy and canon law. This is in addition to a full array of liturgical services where the sounds of exuberant voices fill the Chapel with heartfelt prayer. And each one continues to ask himself if this is truly a calling from God in his life at this time.

This Program serves men from all four Byzantine Ruthenian Eparchies along with men from the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchies of Stamford, Conn. and Chicago, Ill.

Very Rev. Andrew Deskevich and Serra Club chaplain Rev. Valerian Michlik celebrate the prayer service at the Sisters of St. Basil Monastery Chapel in Uniontown, Pa.

Very Rev. Andrew Deskevich and Serra Club chaplain Rev. Valerian Michlik celebrate the prayer service at the Sisters of St. Basil Monastery Chapel in Uniontown, Pa.

Sister Dolores Ann Vanischak and Serran Rich Trankocy reminisced about their school days together at SS. Peter and Paul in Braddock, Pa.

Sister Dolores Ann Vanischak and Serran Rich Trankocy reminisced about their school days together at SS. Peter and Paul in Braddock, Pa.

Byzantine Sera Club president Patty Bovee and Abbot Leo Schlosser.

Byzantine Sera Club president Patty Bovee and Abbot Leo Schlosser.