Advice About Deacon Ordination


Gorgias! Someone has already deleted the same-subject thread! :thumbsup:

What a great site this is!

EDIT: Actually, someone has combined the two threads, which makes a couple of things confusing, lol, but I repeat:

What a great site this is!



No, a call to the permanent diaconate is a unique vocation apart from the call to be a priest. The early Church knew this but had forgotten it by the end of the tenth century and the diaconate itself fell into disuse for 1000 years to the Church’s shame.

The idea that the diaconate is a stepping stone to the priesthood or that the diaconate is a lower form of the priesthood is not correct. The diaconate is lower than the priesthood in terms of the hierarchy of the Church and in terms of governance but a call to the permanent diaconate is a unique vocation in and of itself. It is a call to service.

The diaconate is not a booby prize for those who missed their call to he priesthood or “priest lite”. The office of deacon does not derive its dignity from the priesthood but is an office of the Church in it’s own right.




The fact is that any man six months away from embracing the celibate state who then suddenly announces that he would like to get married would be pulled out of formation.

Every bishop is free to do as he sees fit but I was a man who inquired about entering formation with the intent to become a celibate deacon in the Archdioces of Atlanta and asked these exact questions of the formation director.

Telling your audience otherwise does them a disservice.




This is simply wrong.

In 1999, our diocese ordained 27 men to the permanent diaconate, 3 of them were unmarried.

In 2011 (my class) our diocese ordained 43 men to the permanent diaconate, 2 of them were unmarried.

In 2013, our diocese ordained 23 men to the permanent diaconate, 1 of them was unmarried.

The statistics are that not only are single men “likely” to be ordained to the permanent diaconate, they in fact routinely are.

According to the USCCB, as of 2010, over 2% of all active deacons in the United States have never been married.

Certainly less than the married deacons by a substantial amount, but not a rarity.



It might help to read the **National Directory for the Life and Formation of the Permanent Diaconate in the United State**s.







I am glad, for one, this thread is not yet deleted for I am quite interested in this. Lisa, I have been thinking for some time now about the permanent diaconate and have spoken to my pastor about it (as well as our DER and other parish priests) and I am surprised how LITTLE is known–even these days–about permanent deacons and what they do. Many in the States know of priests and associate the Roman collar with the priesthood. There was a time a few decades ago that we all would see clergy (mostly priests or transitional deacons) walking around in clerical garb and we could think of well known movies in which priests were central. Well, it would be great for a film to come out about permanent deacons and all that they do for the Church. It would be positive for the Church to show that some of guys walking around with the collar are faithful servants of the Church and may be married with kids, or may be single and celibate, yet remaining a deacon. We needs more information at a cultural level about the diaconate and good examples for the mostly ignorant populace to encounter. May God bless you on your journey to get this made. Shalom. :thumbsup:



The place of the permanent deacon in the Church is not really understood by the laity. To a certain extent the Church herself does not yet know what God is doing and what God has planned for the permanent diaconate which has really only been restored for 50 years after 1000 years of disuse.

An excellent book is The Emerging Diaconate: Servant Leaders in a Servant Church by William T. Ditewig.




I agree the permanent diaconate is not well understood. When I mention it to most people, they mostly are ignorant of the Vatican II council restoring the ancient order to a permanent status within the Church, but that is mostly in parishes or in areas where there is not much of a diaconal presence. In those places where there are deacons on the clergy, the laity and other clergy are always effusive in their praise of deacons and the desire that more men become ordained to the diaconate. Priests speak of lower stress levels in being able to rely on deacons to perform baptisms, funeral services and to help with visiting the sick and imprisoned. The deacons are almost always a positive influence on young men and women in terms of catechesis and in showing that some men are called to be of service to the bishop and diocese in a very special way. Yet, I also run into deacons who tell me many a priest (even) can’t wrap their heads around what to do with permanent deacons (typically these are priests ordained before or during the council). The process of educating the faithful about the diaconate is a worthwhile one and LORD knows the Church needs more deacons to serve in the vineyard.



You speak about assisting priests and this is certainly an important part of the deacons ministry but in no way is it all of it, or even the most important part of it.

The restoration of the permanent diaconate came out of the concentration camps in World War II when it was asked how such a thing could happen. Part of the answer was that the Church - the Body of Christ - was seen as a monolithic institution behind iron doors. There was no “visible sign of the Church at work in the world” and part of the way to make the Church’s mission of service to mankind more visible was to restore the permanent diaconate.

In many ways the deacon’s ministry outside of the Church is as important, or even more important than his ministry within. I know deacons who are visible signs of the Body of Christ at work in the day to day lives of ordinary people through Habitat for Humanity, airport ministry, prison ministry, hospice, teaching, counseling addicts, SvDP, homeless outreach. I even know one deacon who can fix anything and he repairs appliances and cars for people who can’t afford professional repairs.

Most members of the laity never heard any of this and just assume that the deacon is there to assist the priest who doesn’t have enough time on his hand, to assist the priest so that the priest can hear confession and say Mass. The idea of the deacon as “Priest lite” and a servant of the priest is incorrect and unfortunately many priests get this wrong as well.

Deacons are often defined by what they cannot do - can’t say Mass and can’t hear confession - rather than what they are - visible signs of Christ at work in the world outside of the four walls of the Church building. Their ministry outside of the Church is as important as their ministry within.




Everything you say is spot on as well, in addition to 93% of the permanent deacons serving as ministers to their wives and families. It is quite the balancing act to be able to be a deacon–a husband and father (the majority) and holding down a job in the secular world (most of them), and then also serving from a clerical standpoint in the diocese. The more one thinks of it, the more one realizes that it truly is a calling from the LORD.



The are times it’s NOT supposed to be done (tho not actually prohibited): During Lent, and during Advent. And not ON the great feasts (Christmas, Easter), tho’ within the Octave isn’t unheard of. Weddings should also avoid those two fasting periods

The idea of Easter decorations and then post christmas decorations would show a clear sense of time passing; it’s a good one.

Most Ordinations are in spring, simply because most seminaries are on traditional collegiate scheduling.



Deacon as a vocation of its own, as opposed to Deacon as a step to the priestly vocation, has never died out within the Catholic sphere.

It has, however, been relegated mostly to the clerical orders and friars (mendicant orders, like the Dominicans), and the Eastern Churches in Union with Rome.

Much the same with married priests - the Eastern churches have always had all three types of priests: Secular Celibate (aka diocesan celibates), Secular Married (but as is ordered by the early councils, married prior to ordination only), and Regular Celibates (Including Friars, Monks, Canons Regular, and other Religious clergy).


closed #34

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit