LUMSDEN, Sask. — Ten candidates have begun their four-year journey toward ordination as permanent deacons for the Regina archdiocese. They gathered at St. Michael’s Retreat House Dec. 13 for their second weekend session to learn what it takes and what it means to be a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church.
Norbert Gaudet said when he heard the letter from the archdiocese read in his church, Sacred Heart, Raymore, Sask., inviting applicants for the program, he heard a call. “The next day the chair of parish council said to me, ‘You’d make a great candidate, so think about it.’ ” So he thought about it, discussed it with his wife, who said it was something he should and could do, filled out the application and was accepted.
Gaudet is a retired French teacher in the Horizon School District. He is very much involved in his church as a member of parish council and former chair of the council. He is an acolyte and serves as leader in lay ministry services.
The description of what a deacon does attracted him to the program. “When you describe Jesus as Christ the Servant, helping people, working with the poor and marginalized, that’s something I could do,” he said in an interview with the PM.
The group has had just two weekend sessions so far; Gaudet said it has been interesting, but he finds the amount of learning about Scripture a challenge. “I’ve never been involved much with Scripture except listening to it in church, but now I’m learning more about how God spiritually speaks to you.”
The weekend of Dec. 13 - 14 was taken up with the Old Testament, taught by Deborah Rolfes. Rolfes teaches Scripture in Newman College’s satellite program in Saskatoon.
Gaudet said in hindsight he sees how the Holy Spirit has influenced his life. “Now I’m trying to get more into seeing it in the present moment.”
The background of most of the 10 candidates is somewhat similar. Most are retired and all are active in their respective parishes and saw the diaconate as something more they could do in living their faith. A few had expressed an interest and a desire to become deacons prior to the archdiocese instituting the program under the leadership of archdiocesan theologian Dr. Brett Salkeld.
The program is delivered one weekend a month for eight months in each of four years. After successfully completing the program each will be ordained to the permanent diaconate and will serve the church in various capacities as volunteers.