Permanent Deaconate?


Is there a difference between the Permanent Deaconate and just being a Deacon at your parish? I was browsing my Diocese’ website and came across a PDF file concerning the permanent deaconate. It talked about assigning, moving deacons as the Bishop judges, for example. It seemed more like a full-time job. Or am I getting this all wrong?


I have also looked into this and am discerning my vocation. No its not a fulltime job. As a deacon you work for the Bishop directly and are assigned to a Pastor generally in a parish. Depending on your talents you will be utilized to do whatever the bishop desires. Our deacon does prison ministry and helps out at the Mass rarely.


The Deaconate you are referring to is indeed Permanent Deaconate, as opposed to a Transitional Deaconate.

A Transitional Deacon is a seminarian who is on his way to being ordained a priest. Part of the process of seminary is to be ordained a Deacon, and work in ministry as such for a period of time. For the majority of Church history, this is all we had.

Now we have, in the United States at least, a plethora of Permanent Deacons.


Really there is only one type of deacon though some will treat those preparing for priestly ordination as completely different. Different end goals, but the graces and faculties are not any different.

All deacons are incardinated into a diocese or religious institution. What that means is that they serve their bishop or religious superior directly. As such it is up to the bishop to determine where they are needed. The deacon might be assigned to work under a pastor or a parish, but their obedience is given to their bishop and his successors.

In general a permanent deacon would be assigned to a parish where they live, but deacons are not ordained to the parish and should not have the expectation that they will only serve at their home parish. I am in the early stages of selection into a formation program and they drive that point home. If I am selected and eventually ordained I might be assigned to anyone of 5 parishes in a 20 mile radius of my home. They wouldn’t assign me to a parish 200 miles away, but we were told anything within a 30 minute drive is fair game.


The Deacons in your parish are part of the “Permanent Deaconate” (unless they are seminarians getting ready for the priesthood).

Deacons are ordained by the Bishop and attend seminary (though some dioceses without a local seminary have the courses at the diocese pastoral center, a parish, etc.)

While they are typically assigned to their home parish, they may be assigned else where. For example: their home parish already has 4 deacons and the next door parish (10 miles away) has none.

Also some Deacons are involved with multiple parishes. For example: I know of one Deacon who is employed by 2 different parishes and the archdiocese; plus assigned as the Permanent Deacon for his home parish. So he is involved with 3 parishes and the Archdiocese as part of his ministry.


We have 4 and a half Deacons. :smiley:


Half a deacon? :ehh: I am intrigued. :slight_smile:


I tease him about being a half wit…but srsly…he’s got about 2 years to go before he’s finished. :wink:
He’s a great person, and works a lot with our Teens. Just got back from Catholic Heart WorkCamp in Kentucky with them, and had a blast!

God bless him, and ALL the Deacons!


Some people would say I am worth only about 1/2 of a deacon. :smiley:


God bless our deacons, and if you are one prayers for you. We have a permanent Deacon at our parish and boy does he work hard! Not only does he assist the priest at Mass and sometimes do the homilies, he’s involved in CCD, RCIA, and religious education to name a few! It’s truly a full time job and more! I pray he stays in good health as he already has some physical problems. With our shortage of priests, what would we do without these dedicated men!


:smiley: I see now. Yes, God bless our deacons.


Thank you, all.:slight_smile:


To the OP, a great book to look at if you are curious about the diaconate is the* “National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States”*. I am also discerning the call to the diaconate, and just finished my last interview out of five to see if I will be admitted into the aspirancy year. The book help answer many of the question you have and will also show you what a deacon is. This was actually something that the Diaconate Formation Office asked me to read as part of my application process.

Also, just as an FYI, it is spelled Diaconate. My spellcheck doesn’t recognize that word, but that is how it is spelled.

God bless,



Well, you’re worth your weight in gold on CAF! I am always so happy when the Deacons speak out. Thank you!


Thank you, John. I’ve been spelling it wrong all day long! :smiley:


No problem… I did the same thing at one time.

There is another book that I just received yesterday that might be good to read too. It is fairly short and a quick and easy read written by a Deacon. It is titled “The Heart of the Diaconate: Communion with the Servant Mysteries of Christ”. I haven’t read the entire book yet, but it walks you though the calling, the formation and ordination and finally the ministry.

God bless,



I found some other books on Diaconate (main advantage being that their available on the Kindle) and I wondered if there were any thoughts on them.

In the Person of Christ the Servant: A Theology of the Diaconate Based on the Personalist Thought of Pope John Paul II

Compendium on the Diaconate

The Deacon Reader

Any Deacons out there - how did you know that you were being called? How did you decide that it just wasn’t something that you’d talked yourself into? :confused:


I have the Deacon Reader, and it is okay. I have not finished it yet, but seems to be a good book.

A better idea might be to give the Diacoante a call in your diocese and go in for a talk. They always like to talk with men who feel they may be being called and can help you with that. You might get better answers that way. Or, see if you can talk with a Deacon in your parish or another parish if yours does not have one.

God bless,



I’ve been trying to contact my parish priest and the Diocese. In both cases, I’ve been forced to leave voicemail messages and I’ve resorted to email. I’ve called the parish office, same response - no one answers and no one returns calls or emails. It’s very discouraging. :frowning:


Be patient… the whole process takes time and the two things I have learned during the inquiry process is to be flexible and to be patient.

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