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Seton Hall University

Diaconal Formation Program Launches  

St. Joseph StatueBeginning this fall, the Center for Diaconal Formation will provide the academic formation for permanent diaconate candidates in the dioceses of Metuchen and Paterson. The Center was established in 2010 as part of the Institute for Christian Spirituality at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology to provide academic formation for permanent deacon candidates according to the norms of the USCCB’s National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. It operates under the direction of Reverend Monsignor Joseph R. Chapel, S.T.D., Director, and Deacon Andrew E. Saunders, M.A., Assistant Director.

The academic formation, completed over four years includes an assortment of graduate-level courses on a variety of topics including Sacred Scripture, Theology of God, Christian Anthropology, Christology, Ecclesiology, Liturgy and Worship, Sacraments, Moral Theology and Canon Law. Students who successfully complete the graduate-level academic program will receive a Master’s Degree in Theology with a systematic concentration and/or a Certificate in Diaconal Ministry.

Courses for the Paterson Diocese will be held at St. Paul Inside the Walls, in Madison, with the first course Spirituality of the Old Testament on Monday evenings, taught by Jeffrey L. Morrow, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Theology, and Theology of the Spiritual Life on Tuesday evenings, taught by Dianne M. Traflet, J.D., S.T.D., Associate Dean and Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology.  Courses for the Metuchen Diocese will be conducted at the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center, in Piscataway, beginning with Revelation and Faith on Monday evenings, taught by Rev. Peter J. Albano, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology, and Synoptic Gospels on Thursday evenings, taught by Rev. Msgr. C. Anthony Ziccardi, S.T.D., Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies and Vice-President for Mission and Ministry at Seton Hall University.

In addition to graduate-level courses, the Center offers workshops, lectures, and presentations for permanent diaconate candidates and their wives covering a wide variety of topics which address the spiritual, pastoral and human dimensions of diaconal formation. The Center also addresses post-ordination diaconal formation and continuing education needs of deacons.

Through the Center for Diaconal Formation, a deacon candidate will receive an academic formational experience that is much in common with their seminarian counterparts and consistent with the latest teachings of the Catholic Bishops of the United States on the ordained ministry of deacon.  For more information on the programs and resources offered by the Center for Diaconal Formation, please visit our website.


For more information, please contact:

  • Deacon Andrew E. Saunders, M.A.
  • (973) 313-6335
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