Deacons wife


A Deacons wife is not a “vocation” directly, but I directly … How does a wife help a husband discern if the vocation is right for the family.

Does a deacons wife have a obligation to the parish her husband serves?


Also, I’m wondering about a Deacons children? How are they entwined into this vocation?


A Deacon’s wife certainly is there to support his ministry. I know of a fine candidate for the Diaconate that was turned away from classes because his wife when interviewed was not “on board” with his desire to become a deacon. Also, men with small children may be advised to wait until they are older, as being a Deacon often calls for them to be away from their families, who are their first responsibility.
I would not say they are “embroiled”…that seems a bit harsh.
But in our Diocese, the wives attend their own parallel classes to foster understanding and to educate wives about the Diaconate.
I think that may be the reason why we see more widowers and men whose children are out of the house pursuing the Diaconate.
I’m sure Deacons here on CAF have better, more thorough responses, but that’s just what I see from where I live.


Quick question that came up the other day- are deacons
expected to be celibate?


This is taken from the USCCB website regarding frequently asked questions about Deacons:

4.May married men be ordained deacons?

Yes. The Second Vatican Council decreed that the diaconate, when it was restored as a permanent order in the hierarchy, could be opened to “mature married men,” later clarified to mean men over the age of 35. This is in keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church, in which married men were ordained into ministry. Also in keeping with ancient practice is the expectation that while a married man may be ordained, an ordained man, if his wife should die, may not marry again without special permission.

** “Celibacy Affects Every Deacon:**
In one way or another, celibacy affects every deacon, married or unmarried. Understanding the nature of celibacy—its value and its practice—are essential to the married deacon. Not only does this understanding strengthen and nurture his own commitment to marital chastity, but it also helps to prepare him for the possibility of living celibate chastity should his wife predecease him. This concern is particularly unique within the diaconate. Tragically, some deacons who were married at the time of ordination only begin to face the issues involved with celibacy upon the death of their wives. As difficult as this process is, all deacons need to appreciate the impact celibacy can have on their lives and ministry.” – National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, par. 72.


Adding to celebacy, from the CCC

2349 “People should cultivate [chastity] in the way that is suited to their state of life. Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for all by the moral law, whether they are married or single.” Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practice chastity in continence:

There are three forms of the virtue of chastity: the first is that of spouses, the second that of widows, and the third that of virgins. We do not praise any one of them to the exclusion of the others. . . . This is what makes for the richness of the discipline of the Church.


I have a friend in my “Moms group”. Her husband is a police officer who has 1.5 years left Deacon school. They have five little childreen. Yes, most of the deacons I know are old, but at witnessing their life through this vocation I was wondering where her place would be. She’s not getting the eternal mark of Deacon for the rest of her life, nor is she getting the eternal mark of “wife” to Deacon either. Seems like a great sacrifice.

I also wonder if her family will be more like a prechers wife with prechers kids. :shrug:
My curiosity might also be tied to wondering how my husband may be as a Deacon; as I have similarities with this woman.


Well, we have several deacons at our parish. I would say all of their wives are strong women. By that I mean, they have interests of their own. One is definitely catechetical in nature, one is into social justice issues and works with the poor quite a bit, one still has a career in civil service, and one works for a manufacturing company in a supervisory position. None of them have children at home.
Without exception they are supportive and happy that their husbands serve. And, they are their biggest “homily critics”, LOL.

A friend from a former parish has middle school aged children and is in Deacon school. I’m not around him that much anymore to know whether there is more of a struggle there due to his young family. I really don’t know. I wish some deacons would comment…


Married Deacons are not celibate and are not required to abstain and follow perfect and perpetual continence. Unmarried deacons are celibate and have the requirement of living a life in perfect and perpetual continence.

What does that mean;

Married when ordained the deacon is expected to live his married life as usual, but makes that promise of “conditional celibacy” which means if my wife passes on I cannot remarry. (Those who are not celibate, i.e. married, are exempt from Canon 277 section 1.)

If a single man is ordained a deacon he must make a promise/vow to live a celibate life. (Canon 277 section 1 is in force.)

My wife is the youth ministry director for my home parish and we work youth ministry together. I would suggest that if anyone works youth ministry, safe environment issues are much easier to take care of. We have three kids, son 21, daughter 19, and a son 18. All are in college and our oldest is in his third year of seminary college.

The part of the equation to constantly be thinking of is that I am married before I am ordained. My family and marriage especially has to be first. It is a blessing that my wife is active in ministry with me, if she were not we have to have a lot more planning meeting to be sure I was not neglecting her.

Just a deacon’s perspective. Good luck to you!


With respect to “celibacy”, DITTO Deacon Lapey’s excellent response.

As for a wife’s involvment: it certainly is required that a married deacon’s wife consent to his diaconal vocation, and my wife was asked to formally do so, in writing, each year of my deacon formation program (that’s 5 times). However there is no requirement that she be actively involved in minstry. My wife does assist with our RCIA program, but she is not required to do so. She also works with me in facilitating our marriage preparation program, and in making presentations at our sessions. However, here again, she is not required to do so. Most of the deacon’s wives I know are involved in some way in their parishes but I do know one deacon who’s wife is not even Catholic, and another who’s wife, although Catholic, says that the ministry is “his thing” and her involvement is limited to regular Mass attendance.

Kids are kids. They need to make their own way. We have four children, two daughters (23 and 21) and two sons (19 and 171/2). Our oldest is in grad school, living at home, and attending Mass (sometimes not so eagerly, but that’s the house rule). Our middle two are away at college, involved in social justice programs there and “hopefully” practicing their faith. Our youngest is a high school senior, active in the Parish youth group and by all accounts a pretty devout young man. None are in any way involved in my diaconal ministry. They do cringe when I talk about them in homilys though.


I should add that our diocese had to “gently handle” a few of the deacon’s wives from the class ordained ahead of me who seemed to think they were, by virtue of their husbands’ ordination, “deaconessess”, for lack of a better term. During my formation period, all of our wives attended several sessions, where, among other things, they were instructed on their role (or lack thereof) as a deacon’s wife.


Same here Deacon! My wife told me before I was ordained that she was NOT going to be one of “those deacon’s wives”! I got the message quite clear and she is not one of “those”.:smiley:


My wife is the same way! I must admit it seems a little “off” when she asks me for a blessing or to bless something. She is my wife for cryin’ out loud. LOL


Well, I’d like to publicly THANK all you deacons out there.
When the priests are so busy with what they have to do, you are always the “go-to” people for help with religious ed classes, you make yourselves available for marriage counseling, you welcome people into the parish, you train altar servers and EMs, you visit the sick, counsel the confused, and in general help the laity get their act together. :smiley:

We so appreciate the work that you do.
We really do. I hope your constituents let you know and keep you wrapped in prayer.
Thank you.



May I second, third, fourth … what pianistclaire wrote above? God bless our deacons–the least understood and at times under-appreciated of the clergy. They are invaluable to the Church. :thumbsup:





You are both quite welcome!!! Thanks for the shout out, but we are especially thankful for the prayers and the wish of God’s blessings upon us servants of Christ.:):tiphat:


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