Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology Logo

Center for Diaconal Formation's Key Leaders to Speak at National Diaconate Congress  

Image of Saint LawrenceNext year marks the 50th Anniversary of the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate in the United States. In celebration of this momentous occasion, the National Association of Diaconate Directors, in conjunction with the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, will host a National Diaconate Congress of Catholic Deacons in July 2018 in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Over 800 deacons, deacon candidates and their wives are expected to attend.

The theme for the Congress is Christ the Servant: Yesterday, Today, Forever. Presenters have been selected from around the country who will offer conferences and workshops that delve into the history of the permanent diaconate over these last fifty years and the thrust of the vocation into the future.

The Center for Diaconal Formation of Immaculate Conception Seminary School at Theology of Seton Hall University was pleased to learn that two of our key leaders will be among the presenters. Dianne Traflet, J.D., S.T.D., Associate Dean and Administrative Advisor, will present two conferences, one reserved for wives of deacons and deacon candidates and the other for the general audience. Her first, titled, Guardians of Gifts "Entrusted to Their Care:" St. Edith Stein's Reflections on the Call of Catholic Women to Spiritual Accompaniment, will be offered specifically for wives of deacons. This presentation will offer a brief survey of Edith Stein's spiritual journey and conversion to Catholicism, and then delve into her talks on women, delivered before she entered Carmel. Seen against the backdrop of both world wars, these talks are glimpses into Stein's own life as a lay woman in the heart of the Church and an inspiring role model who encouraged women to live out their faith decisively and courageously while accompanying others on their paths to an ever-deepening relationship with Christ.

Image of Saint Edith SteinDr. Traflet's second presentation will take place at a dinner at the World War II museum and is entitled, "Called Out of Darkness:" Building the Body of Christ from the Barracks of Dachau. Through the lens of "Called Out of Darkness," (1 Peter 2:9), this presentation will look to two major figures of Dachau, Blessed Titus Brandsma (Carmelite Priest) and Blessed Karl Leisner (Transitional Deacon in Dachau where he was ordained a priest). It will consider their inspiring Marian spirituality and embrace of the Cross of Christ, as they walked in faith, hope and love in the darkness of a concentration camp. The presentation also will discuss prophetic conversations by imprisoned priests (some of whom would become bishops who would attend the 2nd Vatican Council) about the need to restore the permanent diaconate after the war.

The Center's Director, Deacon Andrew Saunders, M.A., will co-present with Deacon Peter Cistaro, Director of the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Paterson. Their workshop presentation will be focused for directors of formation and is entitled, A Collaborative Diaconate Formation Program: Diocese and Seminary. This workshop will highlight the collaborative effort between the Diocese of Paterson and Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. It will explore the challenges and successes of this model of diaconate formation in the context of the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons and the accreditation standards of the Association of Theological Schools.

We are most pleased to be a part of this historic national celebration and encourage all deacons, deacon candidates and families to attend this event. For more information regarding the National Congress of Catholic Deacons, please visit

Categories: Faith and Service

For more information, please contact:

  • Kimberly Mailley
  • (973) 275-2435