Formation is designed to help form the man and his wife into the best deacon couple possible. The curriculum is developed from the guidelines established by the U.S. Bishops in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of the Permanent Diaconate in the United States.
This document sets out the standards the Bishops want in the deacons who will serve in the United States. Formation is focused on development in four different areas or pillars: Human, Spiritual, Pastoral, and Intellectual. Each year these components build upon each other. The Bishops specifically defined the standards for each year of formation using the four pillars. Formation is more than academic; it is about forming the entire person. Knowledge is necessary and valuable, but unless the men know how to apply it so that people can understand and appreciate it, it remains simply knowledge.
Since the formation process is about developing deacons for the Archdiocese, the growth of each person will be monitored and evaluated. The discernment aspect of formation continues until the Bishop lays his hands on the men at their ordination. Because a man and his wife are accepted into the formation process, it does not mean he will be ordained. The couple, as well as the Church, continues to discern their readiness and true call toward the Permanent Diaconate.