Saint Meinrad's Permanent Deacon Formation Program works closely with local dioceses to ensure that the program meets their individual needs.
The Saint Meinrad Permanent Deacon Formation Program is based on monthly (September through June) weekend meetings for academic coursework and formation sessions.
The location of these formation weekends is determined by the diocese, and scheduling is done in consultation with Saint Meinrad. Lecturers travel to the diocese for their assigned weekends.
The degree of wives’ participation in the formation program is left to the discretion of diocesan officials. Throughout the program, it is important to maintain the distinction between the ordained ministry of the deacon and the ministerial activities of his wife, which she carries out as a lay person in her own right.
Apart from regular formation weekends, candidates come together for retreats (usually in August), meet regularly with a spiritual director, assemble in small theological reflection groups in locations selected to minimize travel time, and take on ministry assignments of interest to the candidates and the diocese, supervised and evaluated by local personnel.
The criteria for selection and ongoing participation in the program are developed and applied at the diocesan level. Saint Meinrad lecturers evaluate the academic performance of candidates in each course.
Evaluations of candidate interest and performance are also provided by leaders of theological reflection groups and supervisors of ministry assignments.
These evaluation instruments provide information to the diocese that can be used to determine if candidates should be invited to continue formation and if they should be admitted to orders.
The annual fee charged by Saint Meinrad is composed of two elements:
a fixed fee that covers faculty stipends, program administration, the liturgical practica, evaluation tools and assistance;
reimbursement for the individual travel-related expenses of lecturers.
The diocese is also billed for the cost of texts and for the cost of obtaining copyright permissions and duplicating other required class resources.
The diocese is expected to cover these costs:
room and board for lecturers and participants;
suitable classroom facilities;
room and board at Saint Meinrad for the homiletics workshop.
The diocese determines which, if any, costs will be recovered from program participants (for example, for textbooks, housing) and administers all activities related to identifying, charging and collecting these monies.
The annual fee is reduced for those dioceses that have seminarians enrolled in Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.