Permanent Diaconate

If you were to ask the average parishioner to describe the role of a deacon they are likely say that, it involves serving alongside the priest during Sunday Mass. Perhaps they will list such liturgical duties as proclaiming the Gospel or preaching a homily, baptizing a child or witnessing a marriage. Learn more about becoming a Permanent Deacon by reading some FAQ’s below:

Who is a Permanent Deacon?
A Permanent Deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. The role of the deacon is to be a helper of the bishops and priests, to proclaim by his life the Church's call to serve the needs of others, to proclaim the Gospel message, to live a life of fidelity to Christ and the Church and to lead the community in building a Kingdom of grace, faith, justice, and compassion. The deacon is to be a sign and living witness of the presence of Christ the Servant in the world.

How does a Permanent Deacon serve?
All ordained ministers in the Church are called to functions of Word, Sacrament,and Charity, but bishops, presbyters and deacons exercise these functions in various ways. As ministers of Word, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach, and teach in the name of the Church. As ministers of Sacrament,deacons baptize,lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services As ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then marshaling the Church's resources to meet those needs. Deacons are also dedicated to eliminating the injustices or inequities that cause such needs. But no matter what specific functions a deacon performs, they flow from his sacramental identity. In other words, it is not only WHAT a deacon does,but WHO a deacon is,that is important.

Are married men allowed to 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.

Is a Deacon ordained for the Parish or the Diocese?
Whenever a person is ordained, he is to serve the diocesan Church. Deacons are no different in this regard.  They are assigned by the bishop to ministries for which the bishop perceives a great need, and for which the deacon may have special gifts or talents. Most often, this will be within a parish setting, just as most priests serve in a parish. Once assigned to the parish, the deacon and any other clergy assigned to the parish minister under the immediate supervision of the pastor. However, this assignment may be changed at the request of the deacon or the initiative of the bishop.

How do I find out more about becoming a Deacon?
The Directors of Diaconate Formation for the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City are listed below in the blue box . They will be able to outline the various requirements and the processes to be followed.

The Homily of His Holiness, Pope Francis on the Jubilee of Deacons

Department Contacts

Rev. Eleazar Silva Galvan

Director of Academics

t: (801) 328-8941 x 110

Deacon Drew Petersen

Director, Office of Diaconate Formation

t: (801) 328-8641