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Priestly Life and Ministry

Office of Priestly Life and Ministry

The Office of Priestly Life and Ministry, aided by the Priests Continuing Formation Commission (PCFC), promotes the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation of the priests of the diocese through its programs of annual convocation, retreats, workshops, and days of prayer.

Priests Continuing Formation Commission

  • Rev. Michael Ciccone, O.P., S.T.L., M.S., Ph.D., chair
  • Rev. Robert F. Cole
  • Rev. Jerome J. Day, O.S.B.
  • Rev. Volney J. DeRosia
  • Rev. Mark Dollard
  • Rev. Thomas L. Duston
  • Rev. Thomas J. Frink, S.J.
  • Rev. Robert E. Gorski
  • Rev. Philip Pacheco, O.F.M.
  • Rev. Michael S. Zgonc

Vision Statement

“Permanent or ongoing formation, precisely because it is ‘permanent’, should always be a part of the priest’s life. In every phase and condition of his life, at every level of responsibility he has in the Church, he is undergoing formation.” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, #76)

I. Responsibilities

As ordained ministers sent to serve God's people, the clergy–Bishop and priests and deacons–are both responsible and accountable for their own individual ongoing formation. The bishop, by virtue of his office and commitment to his own ongoing formation, is also the chief formator and is directly responsible for the ongoing formation of his priests and to holding them accountable to this end. He does this by offering encouragement, time, and resources. To help him in this task, he is to appoint a director as well as a commission of priests to oversee and regularly examine the process of ongoing formation in its human, intellectual, pastoral and spiritual growth dimensions. At any time throughout this process the Church, especially through the bishop and other presbyters, has the right to call priests to accountability for the ways they have or have not fostered these particular dimensions of ongoing formation.

“The ordained ministry has a radical ‘communitarian form’ and can only be carried out as ‘a collective work’.” Pope John Paul II (PDV #17)

II. A Vision for the Diocese

An Intentional Presbyterate

A necessary goal in this ongoing formation is presbyteral unity–that is, a presbyterate in union with the Bishop. The more this goal is realized, the more it will reflect the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from which it draws its life and has, as its purpose, the effective witness and proclamation of the truth of Jesus Christ sent by the Father for the salvation of the world. Because of the seriousness of this purpose, those divisions that impede or imperil this unity must be accurately identified and honestly faced. Then, this "collective work" forged by a collective sense of study and prayer can lead to a common language and mind about what constitutes priestly mission and a common heart attached and committed to the Heart of Jesus Christ, our High Priest.

“. . . The new evangelization will become a reality only if ordained and lay members of Christ’s faithful understand their roles and ministries as complementary and their purposes joined to the one mission and ministry of Jesus Christ” USCCB, Called and Gifted for the Third Millennium (#18)

III. Ongoing Formation, Integrative or Collaborative

So that this "one mission and ministry of Jesus Christ" may be fruitfully carried out, bishops, priests and deacons should be involved and share in planning and formation with lay ecclesial ministers on a regular basis. To develop a collective sense of study, prayer, and mission among the laity and ordained clergy, with each having their "proper place within the Body of Christ," is an essential component of the "new evangelization."

IV. Practical Implementation for the Long Term

With Episcopal oversight, the PCFC assumes that all of its programmatic work is geared toward the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral pillars of formation. This includes

  • Formation events each fiscal year such as two preached retreats, other retreat opportunities, Advent and Lenten days of prayer, Bishop's Day with His Priests
  • Planning and sponsoring each fiscal year, two workshops, institutes, or seminars which may consist of one, two, or three day programs
  • Planning and sponsoring a three-day convocation at least every two or three years for all diocesan priests
  • Being a clearing house for all funding requests for sabbaticals as well as for programs not sponsored or scheduled by the diocese
  • Programs and planning that occasionally is integrated with continuing formation of permanent deacons and lay ecclesial ministers
  • Responsibility for creatively responding to diocesan needs by planning for entirely new initiatives

V. Ongoing Formation Planning

The Priests’ Continuing Formation Commission has now developed a year by year approach to scheduling formation events. The calendar events will focus on a unified theme that is entered into through various integrated portals. For 2014-2015, we plan to have our formation events bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of God.

Continuing Formation

Individual deacons are responsible for their own continuing formation. Their responsibility is linked to their commitment to serve well the Church and the people of God through their ministry and through their own personal faith commitment.

The Office the the Permanent Diaconate offers three continuing formation events each year:

  • the Bishop's day with the diaconate community in February
  • a weekend retreat in April
  • a convocation or formation weekend in October.

Other Resources

For more information, please contact:
Rev. Michael Ciccone, O.P., S.T.L., M.S., Ph.D.
Secretary for Ordained Ministry and Liturgical Worship
(603) 663-0153

Jo-Ann Ellison
Administrative Assistant
(603) 663-0147

Diocese of Manchester
The Catholic Church in New Hampshire

153 Ash Street, Box 310
Manchester, NH 03105-0310
(603) 669-3100
Fax: (603) 669-0377

© Diocese of Manchester