Active Duty Military Deacon

I’m active duty US Air Force, 31 yrs old. I’m just on my way into med school, but my long term goals are 20+ yrs in service, leaving much time to become a deacon. I imagine about 8 years until I can start courses, and I have no idea where to begin. My questions are:

*Which diocese would I go through being in the military?

Are there distance-learning programs for becoming a deacon?

What can I do in the coming years to prepare?

Can I be a physician AND a deacon at the base I am stationed?*

Any inputs at all would help. Much thanks. God bless.


I’d talk to the Catholic Chaplain. He should be able to tell you.

The US military has it’s own bishop (kinda like an ordinariate) so I imagine if you remained in the military you would be assisting him.

The diaconate courses per se are more for formation rather than information, but any theology you study would be most useful.

Pray lots, go to mass lots, go to confession lots and maybe get a spiritual director if you can.

Good luck in med school - that will be a grind.:thumbsup:

This might be of interest too:

Pro Deo et Patria!

I don’t know if this has changed in the last year or two, but when I was in there were no Deacons in the military. You move around too much, and a Deacon is responsible to his parish. At the very least, the military doesn’t recognise the Deaconate as an ordination, as there is no rank structure set up for them. Personally, I always thought they should be warrent officers, but in Washington listens to me.

I know more about the Army than the AF but I think you would have to choose one. Each branch has certain jobs. The jobs for clergy are in the Chaplaincy Corp while the jobs for doctors are all in the Medical Corp. If you were in the Medical corp and already an ordained deacon, the Chaplain would probably welcome your assistance with things such as helping with Mass or visiting hospitals but it would be more of an outside volunteer activity.

That situation seems to have changed. I don’t know anything about how deacons are used in the military or how an active duty member could become a deacon (as you mentioned, service members move a lot.)

But here is the Application for Diaconal Faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services

Thank you for your interest in serving the members of the United States military or Department of Veterans Affairs as a Catholic deacon. To be considered for AMS faculties you must already be an ordained Catholic deacon and you must complete an online application that can be found below. After completing the online portion of the application you must also send to the AMS Chancellor a certificate or letter that proves you have completed Child and Youth Protection training. Additionally, you are responsible for asking your bishop to send a letter of permission addressed to Archbishop Broglio, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. All deacons with AMS faculties must have the recommendation of a priest supervisor who also has AMS faculties

There are deacons in the U.S. military, however they do not serve as chaplains. The are not endorsed as chaplains by the Archdiocese of Military Services nor are they assigned as chaplains by the U.S. military. However, deacons who serve in the military can receive faculties to serve as deacons at AMS-staffed facilities. These deacons remain incardinated in their home dioceses and keep their military assignments – i.e. their “day jobs”.

If I reading the FAQ are the AMS website correctly, deacons don’t actually have to be on active service – or even have served – to receive AMS faculties:

Back in the 1980s, my father was a deacon incardinated in a Florida diocese while serving as an U.S.A.F. officer at a base in Texas. During the week he fulfilled his duties in the I.G.'s office and on weekends served Mass with the base chaplain, Father Rocky. My father had started diaconate formation in Florida before Uncle Sam reassigned him to Texas, so had do his final year of deacon studies “by correspondence course” – he used up all his leave coming back for “deacon weekends” and his ordination.

Thanks, that is sort of the answer I was looking for. Primary duty: medical provider. Secondary/voluntary/additional duty: spiritual provider…of sorts. Much thanks. God bless.


Will do. What exactly is a spiritual director?

Often a priest (or a sister (or nun), brother (friar monk etc) or lay person who is qualified) who will spend a certain amount of time with you on a regular bass helping you figure out your vocation, and giving you spiritual guidance and help to get there.

They could use Jesuit or other spirituality to work with you.

They have been incredibly helpful in my life, and if you go through the diaconal formation it will be a requirement.

Should a soldier wait for bootcamp to get fit, or does it make sense to get in shape before you arrive?:wink:

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