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The Year of Discernment segment of the Institute is designed to accommodate men and women of the diocese involved in or interested in being selected for ecclesial ministry. The Year of Discernment or a documented equivalent is a requirement for acceptance into the three-year formal program.

The goal of the Year of Discernment is to identify persons with leadership capabilities interested in and able to pursue the more intense three-year element of the Institute. A secondary goal is to create in adults of the diocese an interest in and a desire for on-going faith formation.

The Year of Discernment consists of seven all-day Saturday sessions (one per month September through March) and one Day of Reflection in April. The Day of Reflection is a requirement for continuance in the Institute.

The Year of Discernment will introduce participants to the basic theology of the Catholic Church and the Christian’s personal call to maturity, holiness, community, and ministry. It will follow the guidelines of the pastoral letter of the United States Bishops, Called and Gifted for the Third Millenium, and the document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord (Colaboradores en la viña del Señor).