Advanced Ministry Formation
for Deacon Candidates and Lay Ecclesial Ministers

Diocese of Las Vegas

Spiritual Direction & Faith Sharing

All Deacon Candidates are required to have a Spiritual Director with whom they meet individually on a regular basis (about once a month) throughout your formation. Lay Ministers and wives of Deacon Candidates are also encouraged to have a Spiritual Director with whom they meet regularly for ongoing spiritual growth.

All Deacon Candidates are required to participate regularly (about once a month) in a Faith Sharing or similar Support Group with other candidates, deacons, or lay ministers. Lay Ministers and wives of Deacon Candidates are also encouraged to join some type of faith sharing group for mutual support and ongoing spiritual growth.

How to find a Spiritual Director:

Faith Sharing in Support Groups:

What Is Spiritual Direction?

A Brief Intro, by Br. Charles J. Jackson, S.J.:

Spiritual direction can be described as help that one person gives to another to assist her in discovering, appreciating and responding to God’s presence and action in her life.  It is based on the understanding that God’s love for us is an active love and that God reveals his love not only in giving us life but in continuously communicating his love for the purpose of drawing us to fullness of life.

The focus of spiritual direction is not simply with the ‘spiritual’ dimension of our lives but with every-thing that makes us who we are: our heart, mind, spirit, body, affectivity, desires and actions.  It is concerned not simply with our prayer-life but with our entire faith-life.  It embraces every deed and attitude, every thought and feeling, every job and relationship that make us who we are.  Spiritual direction is not ‘direction’ in the sense that the spiritual director will tell us what to do or how to do it.  In fact, there really is no director in our faith-life other than the Holy Spirit.  A spiritual director is simply a companion with us on our journey of faith.
The spiritual director will ask clarifying questions, offer encouragement and occasionally challenge us, but his or her primary role is simply to listen.  Only rarely will he or she offer us answers; more often he or she will force us to ask questions.  The spiritual director will act as a mirror: helping us notice God’s actions in our lives, understand them, savor them and respond to them.

Spiritual direction focuses not on what we have read or thought or wished for, but on what we have actually experienced in our efforts to discover, appreciate and respond to God.  Spiritual direction is based on the understanding that God speaks to us through the ordinary events of our everyday lives.  But here it is not the events themselves that are important, but rather the affective responses they evoke in us - the feelings of joy, sorrow, peace, anxiety and all that arises and stirs within us.  It is precisely here that, through faith, we can discover God’s direction and guidance in our life.

When we meet with our spiritual director for the first time, it is helpful to begin by describing where we have been in our life, what we have been looking for, what and whom we care about, how we feel about our life, where we want to go and what has prompted us to look for spiritual direction at this time.  During subsequent meetings, it is helpful to come prepared with some experiences and/or concerns that we wish to share and/or questions that we wish to ask.

by Charles Jackson, S.J. - Loyola Institute for Spirituality, Orange, CA

From the website of "Spiritual Directors International":

Spiritual direction is the process of accompanying people on a spiritual journey. Spiritual direction helps people tell their sacred stories every day. Spiritual direction exists in a context that emphasizes growing closer to God (or the holy or a higher power). Spiritual direction invites a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. Spiritual direction offers a place to explore prayer practices, meditation, spiritual experiences, and our growing desire for significance.  Spiritual direction is not psychotherapy, counseling, or financial planning.

Spiritual direction is specific to your spiritual journey. If you are taking the first steps to learn to pray, or have been meditating for decades, spiritual direction is valuable. Taking into consideration your unique personality and temperament, spiritual direction is a place to reflect on how to pray, your ongoing or unfolding spiritual practices, and the stages of spiritual development in the life of a sincere seeker. Like prayer, contemplation and meditation, spiritual direction nourishes the spiritual aspect of being human, allowing us to serve with authenticity and grateful hearts.

Other and longer descriptions from the SDI website (

Bibliography and Resources for Spiritual Direction:

Small-Group Faith-Sharing Guidelines

As we listen to others share how God is speaking to them, God can also speak to us. So we need to listen attentively, with our ears and eyes and hearts open, in order for us to hear God speaking to us through others.

    1. See Jesus in every member of your group. Love each member just as he or she is today.
    2. Treat everyone as well as you want them to treat you (the Golden Rule).
    3. Share only what God is revealing to you about yourself and your own life.
    4. Give each person equal time to share with the group.
    5. Be courteous. Allow each person to speak without interruption.
    6. Listening is even more important than speaking (two ears, one mouth).
    7. Do not try to solve another person’s problems. Just listen and offer support.
    8. Do not teach, preach, judge, condemn, or give advice.
    9. Confidentiality is essential for the trust level of a group. So do not share with others outside the group what you heard in your group.
    10. All members of the group have responsibility for these guidelines. Gently remind and lovingly encourage anyone who forgets.

For more information on the AMF program, please contact:

Fr. Bill Kenny
Holy Spirit Parish
5959 S. Hualapai Way
Las Vegas, NV 89148

Phone: 702-459-7778;  Fax: 702-437-9548

Fr. Felix Just, S.J.
Loyola Institute for Spirituality
480 S. Batavia St.
Orange, CA 92868-3907

Phone: 714-997-9587 x28;  Fax: 714-997-9588

This page was last updated on June 14, 2011
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