When Bishop Emeritus Paul Loverde announced in 2007 that he would be reinstituting the permanent diaconate program in the Diocese of Arlington, he selected the Christendom graduate school to provide theological formation for the Permanent Diaconate Formation program. Since then, the graduate school has been providing diaconate and catechist formation for its home diocese.
“I am pleased that the teaching strengths of the graduate school are being put to the service of the local Church in this way,” says dean of the graduate school Dr. R.J. Matava. Christendom’s graduate school also provides formation for outside dioceses through online classes.
In addition to diaconate formation, the Master Catechist program is a new initiative within the Diocese of Arlington and administered by Christendom’s graduate school as well. There are currently 47 students enrolled in the Master Catechist program, which runs over the course of two years and provides deeper formation for catechists who wish to become Master Catechists.
The diaconate and catechist programs are part of the rich education which the Christendom graduate school has offered to both laity and religious for the past 50 years, since its founding in 1969. The courses focus on Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church Fathers, especially on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas. At the heart of the graduate school’s curriculum is instruction in philosophy, Scripture, theology, morality, catechetics, and spirituality to provide formation for the whole person.
Diaconate candidates take twelve to sixteen courses throughout their formation with Christendom’s graduate school. By collaborating with the directors of diaconate formation in Arlington, the courses are tailored to fit the needs of the diocese and provide the best education for the specific vocation of the diaconate.
“Father Scalia has done a marvelous job over the last year further strengthening an already outstanding program,” says Matava. “The diaconate formation program of the diocese of Arlington and the formational support we provide have contributed to a program which serves as a shining example of what formation for the permanent diaconate can be.”
Currently, there are 40 candidates for the diaconate who are being formed in the program, and 47 catechists in the Master Catechist program. The solid theological formation offered by Christendom’s graduate school provides an education which truly transforms the person through a renewal of the mind, enabling those who receive this formation to impact the lives of hundreds through their ministries.
Contributed by Nuala Kelly (’19).