Advice About Deacon Ordination


I’m sure this thread is going to be off the beaten track compared to many, but please know that it comes from an orthodox Catholic, a convert, one who even had her conversion story published in This Rock and who volunteered at Catholic Answers for a time. And I am posting because I want to get things right.

I’m one of those film school graduates who has never made it, and right now I am working on my 7th screenplay (my best, but then, I always think that!).

The climax of the story revolves around a deacon’s ordination. There is then a quick-cut to a wedding in the same place, at least six months later.

I’ve been trying to think how to visually show the passage of time, and I came up with the idea that the ordination scene could show the cathedral full of Easter decorations and the wedding could show it full of Christmas decorations.

But that got me wondering about whether or not there is a certain time of the year in which deacons (I’m especially referring to permanent deacons) are ordained.

Is there?

Also, is there a reliable place to get the text of the permanent deacon ordination ceremony (preferably with directions for body movements of the candidates at various places).

Thank you so much to anyone who can give me advice!


I believe the time of year varies by diocese. My diocese had their ordination last Sat., Sept 14.

If you do a Google search, there is the text for the Rite of Ordination to the Diaconate, but I couldn’t get a link made to it.


Here in Lisbon it can vary from time to time, but as far as I’ve seen since my conversion, deacon ordination has been around November (maybe before or on the begining of Advent), and priest ordination around the time of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. However, I’m still not the best source of this type of information. My pastor was ordained a priest in a December 1st… :rolleyes:


Carolyn, thank you.

The variation of times according to dioceses is a big plus for my script, since it is set in an identified diocese.

Your post reminded me to check for texts, but I couldn’t find anything specific.

I have some pals from my old parish who might know something – I just hate to bug them. And I’m new where I am, so I hate to bug them, too, lol.

Oh, well, Be Not Afraid, right? :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for responding. You have no idea how much the seasonal aspect helps me (more than the textual one will).


ServantPD – thanks!

I gotta say, I hope that Carolyn is right about what happens here in the states, and that what you said about Lisbon is not universal, lol!


There is no seasonal restriction for either of these events. Several days of the year are unusable, but either of these events can occur in any season.


Thanks, everyone!

But I found Carolyn’s text on google and now have another question. It’s so different that I’m gonna make another post.

I’ll ask it here, too.

Before a single man becomes ordained a permanent deacon, he must make a public declaration of celibacy. Does anyone know anything about how that works? Is there a special rite? Is it an announcement somewhere (like for a wedding)? If for whatever reason, the man ends up not being ordained a deacon, is he still committed to celibacy? Finally, if a single man on the way to the diaconate decides to put off his ordination for a year in order to marry first, is that possible? Are there guidelines about it? Could he do it at the last moment and still become a deacon a year later?

Like I said, I’m gonna post all these questions in a new thread. But thank you so much for all the help!


I’m writing a script. I want to be accurate. New questions popped up after my last thread. Here they are:

Before a single man becomes ordained a permanent deacon, he must make a public declaration of celibacy. Does anyone know anything about how that works? Is there a special rite? Is it an announcement somewhere (like for a wedding)? If for whatever reason, the man ends up not being ordained a deacon, is he still committed to celibacy? Finally, if a single man on the way to the diaconate decides to put off his ordination for a year in order to marry first, is that possible? Are there guidelines about it? Could he do it at the last moment and still become a deacon a year later?

Thank you, anyone can help with any of this at all!


While there might not be a proscribed time for permanent deacon ordinations it is not unusual for deacon formation classes to follow the same class schedule as is followed by universities and seminaries.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has permanent deacon ordinations in June.


I am pretty sure that promises of celibacy are always made within the Ordination Rites themselves. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that a man will make a promise of celibacy and end up not being ordained.

If a single man on the way to the diaconate wants to marry and, in so doing, put off ordination for a year or whatever, I am sure that can be accommodated on a case-by-case basis. Ordination programs vary from diocese to diocese, but as far as this, I know of no hard-and-fast rule. So, for the sake of literature, I am sure you can reasonably fit this in to your work.



You just saved me from a heart attack! My script (nearly finished!) is a romantic comedy about blah, blah, blah but ends with a twist on the idea of the guy bursting in on a wedding and convincing the bride to consider him instead. In my case, I in no way want the man to have to give up the diaconate – just postpone it for a year. I mean, I don’t mind fudging things a bit the way Hollywood usually does, but I don’t want to get it completely wrong.



Thanks, SMHW. I actually live in the LA Diocese, but I’ve written my script so that it could take place anywhere in the US.


Oh, thank God, I just read the full rites. When I first looked them over, I saw the inroductory reference to the celibacy commitment and jumped to the conclusion that it had to be made before the ceremony.

Of course, I am fully aware that a single deacon must be celibate – that’s the crux of my script and the reason why I wanted the ceremony interrupted before it was too late.

I repeat – phew!

In case anyone might be worried, please believe that I intend to treat all the rites of the Catholic Church with dignity. Although I am going Hollywood with the last-minute interruption, I am doing so with the belief that it is better to stop a holy ceremony before it is too late than to let it continue with the possibility that vows might be broken later.

I cannot tell you how helpful you all have been. God bless you.


I believe you are correct about the promise of celibacy being within the ordination rite itself. I do not believe their is a promise of celibacy prior to the actual ordination ritual. I have never heard of that.

With regard to putting off ordination, a man who has made it a significant part of the way through formation while embracing the very real possibility that he will live the rest of his live in celibacy will likely be taken out of formation if he should then meet a woman and start considering marriage. The Church is right to ask whether this man has discerned his vocation properly and right to give the man further time to discern.

I doubt most bishops will delay ordination for a year in that circumstance. Typically, a newly married man will not be accepted into formation. This is rooted deep in the Old Testament where Jewish men were not required to serve in the army if they had just married. A deacon’s responsibilities are to 1) God and his salvation - the sacraments, his prayer life, etc, 2) His family, 3) his job and, 4) the diaconate, in that order. His marriage comes first and most bishops will require a man to be in a stable marriage for three years before he be allowed to enter formation.

I was discerning exactly this - becoming a celibate deacon. I had prayed about it for two years, gone to the inquiry sessions, got a physical, had the application filled out and was going to submit it at the beginning of 2013 for the five year formation cohort starting in Jan 2014 in Atlanta. There was great peace in my heart about it and I was excited and posted about it here on CAF. Then I ran into a woman who I knew from way back, we had coffee and, well… you know how it goes. I spoke to my Pastor and asked him to withdraw my name as an inquirer. I withdrew because I questioned whether I had discerned correctly and want to know where God is taking this, or if this is even from God.

Knowing what I know now, there is no way that a man who is newly married should be allowed to enter formation until he and his wife have had time to settle down. His wife has to agree to it as well. A wife has to sign the application too. If the wife does not sign then he doesn’t enter formation. If a wife does not sign then it is not his vocation. His vocation to marriage comes first.



Please ignore this thread. All questions were answered in another. If I could figure out how to delete this thread, I would!

Thanks for understanding.


Tim, thank you so much for blessing me/us with your story.

Fortunately, my script is not the kind in which the woman would not gladly spend years proving her commitment to being a deacon’s wife. In fact, she had already spent years in formation to become a nun.

If you don’t mind, I’ll post this passage from the script which emphasizes the story I want to tell, and which I hope might reflect on your situation:

But it’s not just Sara. Mother Elizabeth was sure my motives were misguided. She said I was running away from life.

Were you?

How could I be? God is life.

Affected by this statement, Harry droops back into his chair. When he finally speaks, it is almost half to himself.

Consecration, ordination – they’re mysterious things. The more I see, the more I wonder at some of the decisions selection committees make.
(leans forward across the table)
But I know that God’s ways are not our ways. And I know He has a plan for you.

In other words, although I would love it if Harry could still become a deacon, it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t. God would still have a plan for him. I just don’t want anyone to think that Rene thought that such a decision was stupid.


Permanent deacons are generally long-married men–this is part of why the minimum age requirement is 35, and most are older than that. While it is certainly possible for a permanent deacon to be single, in practice they are not. There is statistically such an improbability of a single man being admitted into such a program (more likely he would seek to become a priest) as to make the premise of the script questionable indeed.



Rather than asking for this thread to be deleted, perhaps you could provide a link to the thread that contains the answers you wanted? That way, if people come across this thread, they can easily get to the place that you found, too!




Georgias, thank you – the only problem is that I don’t know how to create such a link! I’m kind of technically challenged. If you know how, please be my guest. Or if you can talk me through it, I’d be glad to learn.

Fortunately, all the questions I had have been answered. OTOH, with new information comes new ideas.


Luckily, Hollywood is okay with such improbabilities. :wink: If it can happen once, it can happen in a movie.

Plus, the character is over 35, a principal at a Catholic school, and in his backstory (which never comes out in the script), I’ve been toying with whether or not he’s been a widower for a decade.

Back to Hollywood and the statistical thing – I hate to put a dark spin on this thread, but there have been times when I’ve wondered if there are more media references (both TV and movies) to abortion doctors being killed by religious nuts than there have been actual abortion doctors killed by religious nuts (God have mercy on all their souls).

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