What options are there for a married man?


Dear friends in Christ,

I'm a 27 year old married man, with 2 children and I feel the Lord is calling me for more.

I know one option is the permanent diaconate but only when I am 35 years old, but I was wondering what other options are their for a man in my position?

I would like to know all options that are suitable, so I can start really discerning on one.

Thank you and God Bless.


Wow, these types of posts encourage me so much, thank God for young people like you. I am not aware of anything official for a married father within the Church, but others may know more than me. But, I can tell you that there are programs for Catholic development within a university setting. You can pursue several different paths and I would think that some of the classes would help you discern your path to the diaconate if that continues to be calling you. If you have a Catholic University close by look at their religious studies department, if may be a jumping off point for you. I also would suggest that you consider working within your parish as a volunteer. At our parish having a man teach within the PSR is almost like finding a pot of gold. God bless you.


Perhaps a Third Order of some sort?


or a ministry within your own parish that leverages your God-given talents?


[quote="loozcannon, post:3, topic:296839"]
Perhaps a Third Order of some sort?


I agree with this if it can work for the OP. If there is a Third Order near you that suits your spirituality,you may be led to join. It can help tremendously with spiritual formation.

You are not committed by attending a meeting or a few meetings. It is to help you discern if that is right for you.


[quote="loozcannon, post:3, topic:296839"]
Perhaps a Third Order of some sort?




Men’s ministry!

There are usually a low number of men involved in lay Catholic ministry. Help form the men of tomorrow


That's great! Jesus is always calling us to do more, to be more, for His glory and the good of our neighbor and ourselves. It's wonderful that His call made you perk up your ears!

If you really are perceiving a call to the permanent diaconate, you might want to call your diocese's vocation director (that person is usually a priest,) and seek out his recommendations for what to do for the next seven or eight years. He might suggest some spiritual preparation, some course work, or some parish-based ministry that would put you in a good position to enter formation. In any case, he could help you out with the discernment process.

If you haven't done so, I'd really suggest finding a spiritual director who is versed in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. There is a whole section of these Exercises devoted to discernment, particularly discernment of state of life and the call of Christ. The Exercises can be done as a week-long retreat, or even in what is known as the 19th Annotation, meaning done as a structured series of exercises on your own with periodic consultation with your spiritual director.




How about trying to be an even better husband and father.
In your married state, your first responsibility is to your wife and children. Don`t become spiritually over-enthusiastic.

Now for the flak.


In terms of the diaconate: 35 is the minimum age for Ordination, not reception onto the programme which can typically take 4 - 5 years part time. therefore start talking to the director of the Diaconate now for more personalised advice especially regarding the rules in your dioceses.

A candidate for the Diaconate should be someone who is already involved in active Lay ministry.
areas of particular importance are those that express the particular virtues that are specific to the order of the Diaconate:
Service & Charity
Teaching & Preaching.

These apply both on the altar and off the altar.

The Deacon will learn to be a Reader at mass, and will receive the formal office of Lector during his training (if not already received). After ordination he will read the Gospel at Mass, as an expression of his job as a minister of Charity. After Ordination he may also Preach the Sermon (subject to the wishes of his Priest).
He also bestows some liturgical blessings, including the sacramental blessings of Baptism, and receives the wedding vows from couples who are getting married and blesses them.

He is called in particular to prepare people for these and the other sacraments. - He is called to be a Catechist. A Teacher of the Word of God.

He is an Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion: He distributes Holy Communion to the faithful both at mass and brings it to the sick and housebound. During his training he will receive the order of Acolyte. This includes being and EMHC as well as the functions of Alter Server.

He is called particularly to be a minister of Charity, and to administer the churches efforts in this area.
To prepare for and discern this calling, a man should be looking for how and where the lord is calling him to be actively involved in Charitable works.

If the Lord is calling you to these areas of work, then that calling applies now... not in 10 years time after ordination. Look to see how you can express these types of ministry now.
Such ministries will help you discern your vocation.
If these area not the areas of ministry are not where you feel called, then you need to look at what ministries you do feel called to now.
These will also help you to discern.

Talk to you Parish Priest. Look at the appeals in the news letter for areas where your parish or local charities need volunteers.
Look at what local lay movements and 3rd order groups are active in your area. Are any of these things that you and your wife could get involved in?

Ideally the Deacons ministry should include his wife... does your wife agree with your desire to seek such ministry? both now and in the future? Would she commit to it and the training as well? Would she stand back and support you? Would she not want it or resent it? (as a minimum you must have her informed, written consent to apply to start the training, and again before ordination, but they (the selection teams) prefer her active involvement, and comittment to training for Lay ministry if possible... in my area the Wives go through the same training as their husbands... but as they are not to be ordained they are not subject to being kicked out of the programme if they don' make the required grades.)


Good ideas so far.

Another option to consider is to pursue further study in theology with the goal of working for the Church.


[quote="Fiasco, post:10, topic:296839"]
How about trying to be an even better husband and father.
In your married state, your first responsibility is to your wife and children. Don`t become spiritually over-enthusiastic.

Now for the flak.


No flak from here.....
This is a good point and should always be the place to start from.

To the OP...
Your vocation as husband must always come first so make sure that you examine both personally and with your spouse before looking outside into other areas....

Of course you probably have already done this....:thumbsup:

Another great asset in making such determinations is your wife, who knows you and your talents better than anyone else. She can help you (and maybe herself too) what sort of avenues would be best to explore.

No one has yet mentioned Opus Dei and that might an avenue to explore. I have not looked into it much myself but the programs of it's founder that I have seen occasionally on EWTN indicate his very strong support for Catholic family life...
Might be worth looking into...



Glad to see this thread becasue I am in an almost identical situation myself right now. I'm 31, married, with one daughter and feeling called to do more for the Church without knowing exactly what I should do.

I looked through my parish's ministrys and have decided to become a lector, and I have also been looking into third orders.

OP, I have no idea if your Diocese would have anything similar, but my Diocese has a School for Pastoral Ministy which is helpful for eventually working for the Church etc. The program is only one weekend a month for three years and is very afforable, so its very feasible for a man with a family to enroll in. Perhaps check with your Diocese to see if there is anything similar available for you.


[quote="Fiasco, post:10, topic:296839"]
How about trying to be an even better husband and father.
In your married state, your first responsibility is to your wife and children. Don`t become spiritually over-enthusiastic.

Now for the flak.


:thumbsup: I was just thinking this.


Third Order (as mentioned).



[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:15, topic:296839"]
:thumbsup: I was just thinking this.


Above quote referee to Opus Dei.

I would not push the OP in this direction if he is seriously considering the diaconate. The opus dei do not currently include the permanent diaconate in their structure (so far as I know).
They teach a clear separation between the clergy and laity, which might discourage a member from exploring this vocation.

That's not to suggest that they would have nothing to offer, just that seeking membership in this organisation does not sound like what the OP was looking for. They do provide services and spiritual formation for non members.


There are options eg lay ministry, chapliancy, or 3rd orders such as becoming associated with a monestary (eg Order of Saint Benidict). And as mentioned it can take some time for Deacon formation so don't wait until you are 35. Talk with your parish priest or your diocese Bishop


Thanks for the replies guys! Some really good advice which I will prayerfully consider.

Thanks and God bless.


Excellent thread and I'm another in the same boat. For me, I have just volunteered any way I could with my church. I am taking the Lector training next week, I ran and was elected for my Parish Council, I became involved with Knights of Columbus, I help out with our Eucharistic Adoration, etc.

God will continue to steer you to what he wants out of you. It takes time. My advice is to not sit idle and wait. One thing leads to another so get started "somewhere" and you will be better off!

God bless!

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