Holy Orders:

Holy Orders: Permanent Diaconate

The first of the Orders is Diaconate.  There are two types of Diaconate, the transitional

diaconate which is one of the steps leading to priesthood and the Permanent diaconate.

We will only be referring to the Permanent Diaconate here.  Due to the fact that most of

the selection, preparation, and training is done through the Diocesan Vocations Office,

there will only be an overview presented here.  For further information, contact the

Vocation Department at the Pastoral Center of the Diocese.   The Deacon is a member of

the clergy and can do many things that a priest can do:  Perform baptisms, bless houses,

articles, and persons, celebrate marriages outside Mass, celebrate funerals outside Mass

including graveside services, preach homilies at Masses and other services, act as an

Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist, Display the host and perform benediction at holy hours,

bless holy water.  He is a valuable assistant to the priest and community but with his own

role in ministry.

1. Pre-requisites to applying for the Permanent Diaconate

a. Must have received the Sacraments of Initiation [Baptism, Eucharist, and


b. If married, should be married by the Church and have the consent of his wife; if

single, must understand that he will have to make a promise of celibacy for the

rest of his life.

c. Should form a relationship with the pastor of the parish since the pastor will be

required to write a letter of testimonial as to the fitness of the candidate and

cannot do so unless he knows the candidate.

d. Should be involved in various ministries in the parish, especially with a view

toward service (the meaning of Diakonia].  Some of these may include liturgical

ministry [Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, Lector, Musician, Sacristan,

Usher, Greeter, etc.], Catechetical Ministry [Religious Education teacher, Director

of Religious Education, Catechist assistant, etc.], Social Justice Ministry [Ministry

to the Poor, the sick, Jail ministry, outreach ministries, ministry to people from

other countries, legal aid, etc.], and/or Evangelization ministry.

e. Must practice a normal faith life to include regular participation in the Mass,

regular use of the Sacrament of Penance, personal prayer life, and an annual


f. Must practice and hold views consistent with Catholic Church teaching such as in

the area of Right to Life, lead a good moral life so as not to give scandal to the

faith, etc.

g. Should be aware and knowledgeable about the parish life of the Church such as in

the activities listed in the bulletin, participation or aid to Parish and Finance

Councils, or being open to be called for different types of help in which he has

gifts and talents.

h. Should be involved in continuing education such as in Adult Formation Classes,

other diocesan courses, etc. to prepare for the rigors of philosophical and

theological studies required in the preparation toward Diaconate.

i. Should make a special effort to form community especially with the ordained

deacons of the parish and their families and perhaps any seminarians or

candidates to the diaconate or priesthood.  These communities are diocesan in

nature and serve throughout the diocese not just in the parish.

2. Applying for the Permanent Diaconate

a. The first step should be communication with the pastor of interest in the

diaconate.  The pastor will usually attempt to aid the person in some process

of discernment as well as check the progress of being a good candidate.  [See

#1 above]

b. The next step would be to contact the Vocations Office of the Diocese.  They

will normally refer you to some of the vocation programs already in process

for both the diaconate and the priesthood.  You will be asked to participate in

psychological testing on a regular basis, meet with the vocation director and

possibly the bishop in groups or individually.  The diocese will guide you from

here.  [See Diocesan website for more information]

c. Some of the paperwork that you will need to gather may include:

– Certified Birth Certificate

– Copy of Baptism Certificate with notations [If any notations of Eucharist

– Copy of Marriage License and Certificate of Sacrament of marriage if

– Copy of High School, College, or any other transcripts for education

– Letter of Recommendation from Pastor and others who can attest to your

– Name and address, phone number of your spiritual director if you have

– Indications of any retreats attended

– Any certificates from Adult Formation Courses

– Letter or certificate stating that you have met all requirements for Ethics

– Statement of your wife that she is aware and supportive of your desire to

and Confirmation are missing, a copy of the certificates for these

sacraments as well as contacting the parish of baptism with copies of

certificates of the missing sacraments]


already received.

moral and spiritual character when requested by the diocese.


and Integrity in Ministry

Holy Orders:  Priesthood

Priesthood or the Presbyterate is the second Holy Order and has a share in the

Episcopacy [the Bishop].  As the bishop is to the diocese, the pastor is to the parish.

Any priest can be named a pastor of a parish with full administration responsibility.

The priesthood originated as a way to make the ministry of the bishop available to the

entire local diocese.  Therefore, in union and obedient to the bishop, the pastor and all

priests associated make all the sacramental, liturgical, catechetical, and social justice

ministries available in all parishes.  In addition to all that the deacon can do, a priest

can confect the Eucharist [change the host and wine into the body and blood of

Christ], give absolution in the Sacrament of Penance, celebrate the Sacrament of

Anointing of the Sick, represent the parish in all deanery and diocesan meetings of

clergy, as pastor, make all final administrative decisions in the parish ensuring that

they are in line with Church teaching, Canon Law, and Diocesan Directives, and direct

and guide all ministry in the parish.

1. Pre-Requisites for Priesthood  [Basically the same as Diaconate.  See B1 above.

2. Process is basically the same as for the Permanent Diaconate.  See B2 above.

enter the permanent diaconate program.