Daily life of the Deacon


I’m sure that this has been asked before, and perhaps somebody could just point me in that direction if it has, but for those who become Deacons, how does that reflect itself in daily life?

I know Priests must say a Mass everyday, and that they must observe the Liturgy of the Hours. What about Deacons. Are they obligated to do anything in particular, daily.


I’ll leave the primary question to any deacons, but this is mistaken:

But it is a mistaken notion held by many people



Thanks. I had heard that (I can’t recall where) and obviously picked that up as a matter of fact. Glad to have the correction.


Since they are clerics, they’re canonically bound to recite the hours.




First as for priests and saying a daily Mass they are not required to but they are exhorted to do so.

Now onto Deacons they have only one strict daily commitment and that is to pray the divine office the same as the priests do. They are also bound by their promises of obedience to their bishop and of chastity. Ideally they would attend a daily Mass but their is no requirement. Indeed ideally we would all attend daily Mass, this ideal is held up even more for deacons.

A deacon must also give extra care to his behaviour as he can cause scandal and is expected to act in a way that cannot bring the Church into disrepute.


The same goes for his wife. She should not be engaging in parish gossip!:mad:


A deacon’s daily life is much like any other person. Unless they are retired they go to work, engage in activities with family and friends, work around their house. Deacons are expected to meet with their pastor yearly and fill out a ministry commitment, that is what they are going to do with regard to parish work. In our diocese deacons are expected to give about 10 hours a week to parish work, but many do more and many do less. Most of that is done on Sundays, but also during the week if they have a duty day, preside at wake services, visit the sick, or do marriage or baptismal interviews. Some deacons are in charge of a particular ministry in the parish. This is all worked out with the pastor and varies from deacon to deacon.

My husband has been a deacon for almost 20 years. Some weeks he has no parish obligations other than assisting at mass. Other weeks he has a lot to do. It all depends on the parish and what is happening there. Also if there are a number of priests and deacons in the parish, he might do a lot less. Some deacons are employed in the parish as DRE, business manager or outreach coordinator, but that is not considered part of their diaconal work, although it could overlap.


I’ve heard, and I believe it to be the case at least locally. that in order for a person to be accepted to study for the Deconate, his wife must:

  1. Be a practicing Catholic (seems self evident, but I’ve been wrong here once already) and

  2. Give permission for her husband to purse the Deconate.

Is that correct?


How does he incorporate the Liturgy of the Hours into his daily life?


I said I was going to leave this question to actual deacons, but none seem to be piping up (or at least, none identifying as such)

I am pretty sure this is incorrect, at least in the US.

Canon law says:

Can. 276 §1. In leading their lives, clerics are bound in a special way to pursue holiness since, having been consecrated to God by a new title in the reception of orders, they are dispensers of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.

§2. In order to be able to pursue this perfection:
3/ priests and deacons aspiring to the presbyterate are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily according to the proper and approved liturgical books; permanent deacons, however, are to carry out the same to the extent defined by the conference of bishops;

And the USCCB says:

Canon 276, §2, 3º - Permanent Deacons And The Liturgy Of The Hours

Complementary Norm: Permanent deacons are required to include as part of their daily prayer those parts of the Liturgy of the Hours known as Morning and Evening Prayer. Permanent deacons are obliged to pray for the universal Church. Whenever possible, they should lead these prayers with the community to whom they have been assigned to minister.

Approved: General Meeting, June 2003

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Catholic Education and Congregation for Clergy): Decree (Prot. N. 78/2000), October 30, 2004 ad quinquennium experimenti; Renewed by Decree (Prot. N. 78/2000), October 12, 2009 ad alterum quennium

Promulgated: National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2009, art. 90.

I’m just sayin’.



That does seem to be different.


Yes, my husband is in formation for our diocese, and yes, he needs my permission to remain in formation and to ultimately become a deacon. In fact, both of us will be required to meet with the Bishop on a yearly basis and he will continue to need my permission even after ordination to stay in active ministry.

My husband will be bound to pray both morning and evening prayer under pain of mortal sin once he has been ordained. This has been drummed into each of us during the formation period since the beginning.


It’s not a canonical requirement.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has this in their requirements for ordination:

If your wife is Catholic, she too must be active in and in good standing with the Church and your parish. At a minimum, this means:

She is faithful in attending Mass and regular in Confession.
Prayer is integral to her life.
She has a relationship with Jesus.
She accepts and supports the Church in her teachings.

If your wife is not Catholic, she must live the witness of a good Christian life.


Just saw the thread, so piping in now.

  1. Our wives are not “required” to be Catholic. We have 2 deacons in my diocese married to non-Catholic Christian women.

  2. We are requried to pray only morning and evening prayer. Admittedly, evening prayer sometimes doesn’t happen in the “evening”. I work till 6:30 or 7:00 pm. Stopping to prayer the LOTH at work is not practical, too many distractions, it wouldn’t really be praying, just “reciting”, so typically I pray evening prayer sometime between 8:00 and 9:00 after I get home, find some quiet time and space where I can raise my mind and heart to God. Many if not most deacons I know also pray the Liturgy of the Readings and Night Prayer too.

  3. My days are only different durning the week in that I sometimes have evening meetings with parishioners or (rarely) a diocisan event to attend. On Wednesday mornings before work I facilitate our parish men’s group meeting. Weekends tend to be a little busier. If I am preaching that weekend, I will typically serve at 3 to 4 Masses, often on Saturday evening too. Of course I spend several hours during the week before preparing my homily. I preach about once a month. Saturday mornings usually have either a deacon committee meeting (I and my wife serve on the annual retreat committee and on the aspirant interview board.) or I facilitate a neighboring parish men’s group meeting. About once per month I do benedicition and exposition at the parish on a Wednesday evening. About once every month or two I need to hump over to the seminary where the tribunal is located for a nullity hearing. Occasionally we have a continuing education event for a few hours on a Saturday or in the evening (12 hrs per year).

  4. Two retreats per year, which I attend because I am on the committee but only one is required.

  5. Periodically we are asked to serve at a special mass with the Bishop, for example tomorrow I will be the deacon of the altar for the annual “Red Mass” in our diocese. Many of us also serve at our annual Men’s Gathering (about 2000 - 3000 men), for a day long event capped by Mass on Saturday evening.

  6. I and many deacons try (though not requried) to attend daily mass. I usually go at 7:00 am. unless I am travelling (or on Wednesday when I have men’s group)


Again, I’m surprised and have learned something here.




Morning and Evening prayer. We try to pray it together.


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