Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Diaconate Formation hires new assistant program manager

deacon cooley institute for diaconate formation
Deacon Eric Cooley, The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Diaconate Formation’s new assistant program director.

Starting July 1, Deacon Eric Cooley will serve as the new associate program director for the Institute for Diaconate Formation.

Ordained in 2019, Cooley brings extensive pastoral experience to his new role: he has been director of pastoral care for St. John the Evangelist in Little Canada, Minnesota since 2013 and before that had won recognition in pastoral administration and program development in eldercare. For his apostolic project in deacon formation, Deacon Cooley implemented a multi-parish integrative system to provide spiritual and pastoral care for homebound parishioners and for those in institutions. The project enabled clergy to increase the numbers and frequency of those they visited while decreasing the workload demanded of any one priest or deacon.

Cooley has been a presenter in deacon and seminarian formation; in his new role, he will take over much of the day-to-day direction of deacon formation while focusing on developing a new teaching parish program for deacons in collaboration with the seminary’s pastoral formation department.

Cooley and his wife Sarah have four children ages 5 to 18 and live in Oakdale. He is assigned as deacon to the Church of St. Peter in North St. Paul.

Led by Deacon Joe Michalak, the Institute for Diaconate Formation prepares men for ordination as permanent deacons (single or married) for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The five-year program is structured according to the norms of the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (US Bishops, 2004), the Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons, and the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons (Congregation for Catholic Education and Congregation for the Clergy, 1998).

Additionally, formation is ordered around four dimensions of formation — human, intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral — in the context of the ongoing discernment of the vocation to diaconal ministry and the call to Holy Orders.

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