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Secretariat for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services
Fr. Italo Dell'Oro, CRS - Director
Clergy Pastoral Outreach
Continuing Education of Clergy
Ministry to Priests
St. Mary Seminary
The Secretariat for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services is composed of departments that provide education and formation of men for the priesthood and permanent diaconate, as well as departments that provide direct sacramental and pastoral care for persons who are outside the parish structure.
In the Catholic Church, there are three ranks of ordained clerics: the Diaconate (deacons), the Presbyterate (priests) and the Episcopacy (bishops). The Diaconate is a ministry of service and there are both transitional deacons (men preparing to be priests) and permanent deacons (men who will remain deacons). Permanent deacons can be married men with families while transitional deacons, because they will proceed to priestly ordination, must be celibate (unmarried).
The departments that assist in the identifying, training and pastoral support of deacons and priests are: the Vocations Office (which identifies candidates for the diocesan priesthood and the religious life for men and women), St. Mary Seminary (where men study for the diocesan priesthood), the Permanent Diaconate (which prepares men for diaconal ordination with programs in both English and Spanish and support for ordained deacons), Ministry to Priests (which provides support for ordained priests) and Continuing Education of Priests (post-ordination education).
The primary place for the celebration of the sacraments is the parish. The Church, however, must reach out to those faithful who find themselves in need of the pastoral and sacramental care of the Church when they are away from their parish. Towards this end, the Archdiocese has provided chaplains to key institutions in order to meet the sacramental needs of the faithful. They are the Catholic Chaplain Corps (ministry to those in the hospitals of the Texas Medical Center and other select hospitals in Houston, Correctional Ministries (ministry to those in jails and prisons), Port Ministry (ministry to those who dock at ports) and Deaf Ministry (ministry to the hearing impaired).
Completing this Secretariat is the Church's outreach to the spread and support of the Catholic faith in other countries (Mission Office) and its collaboration and dialogue with persons of other Christian and non-Christian faiths (Ecumenism Commission).