Men who are ordained to the permanent diaconate promise to live out the charism of service to God and the people of God through a life of ordained ministry. This commitment is characterized by service to the Word of God, the Sacraments of the Church, and a life of Heroic Charity.
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.
Permanent Deacons share with other ordained members of the Church a dedication to serve God’s people through the proclamation of the Word, administration of the Sacraments, the offering of Worship to God through Christ, the service of the poor and the faithful of Christ. Since the Second Vatican Council the Church has seen even more clearly that the deacon is called to serve the Bishop, and his Priests, by becoming more intimately associated with, and involved in the life of the poor, the marginalized, the forgotten, the abandoned, the silent, and the voiceless. The deacon is asked to give his voice to the poor so that their concerns may be heard by the whole Church, especially the Bishop. Intimately united to the ministry of the Bishop and the Priests they are called to serve the Church, giving their lives in service to their brothers and sisters, the People of God.
Eligibility Requirements and Applications
A man who feels called to the Order of deacon should discuss this matter with his pastor and over a period of time they should discerned the movement of the Holy Spirit in the candidate’s life. The candidate must be well known to the pastor and the members of the parish community. He must already be involved in the life of the parish in its ministries, outreach programs, or education programs. His commitment to the parish and the Church should be evident in his constant participation and support of the parish. He should be recognized by the community as a witness to pastoral charity, a life of prayer, a man faithful to the Church’s teachings, and should live a life consistent with the values and commandments of the Gospel. The pastor should meet with a candidate’s wife in order to discern the level of her support for her husband’s intention to peruse ordination to the diaconate.
In order to be accepted into the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program a candidate is expected to have successfully completed the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program or have received an equivalent level of preparation. As well as successfully completing courses and seminars on pastoral ministry and human development each candidate, as part of the application process, goes through a screening process, undergoes a rigorous interview process, psychological evaluations and is required to provide over seven independent references from a wide variety of sources. The application process for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is coordinated and implemented by the Director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate.
As many candidates for the permanent diaconate are married and have families, efforts are made to include spouses and children in the formation program at all levels. The involvement, commitment and approval of a spouse are essential for a candidate’s acceptance into the program and in the success of living out the diaconal vocation.
Qualities of a Potential Deacon
- Emotional maturity
- Personal integrity/ appropriate self- knowledge
- Demonstrate a personal commitment to growing in Christian holiness/ an active prayer life/ participation in the Eucharistic and Sacramental life of the Church
- Generosity for service already being demonstrated
- Good physical and psychological health (both candidate and wife, if married)
- Ability to work in a team/ works well with people
- Clearly demonstrates an ability and willingness to lead
- Good communication skills (both as a speaker and as a listener)
- Ability to speak publicly and proclaim the Gospel effectively
- Ability to articulate and explain the moral and doctrinal teaching of the Church effectively
- Need in the community for his service and leadership
- Acceptance by the Christian community as evidenced by his ministry in the parish
- He must show an acceptance and personal commitment to the teaching of the Church
Prerequisites for Admission to the Program
- Be a resident of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and a Catholic male in good standing in the Catholic Church and fully initiated in the faith and, if a neophyte, must have lived the faith for three years prior to application.
- Be at least 35 but not more than 69 years of age at the time of ordination.
- May be either single or married. If single at the time of ordination the candidate will make a promise to remain celibate for the rest of his life. If married the applicant must be able to give evidence of being in a stable and growing marriage relationship, and his wife must be willing to support her husband actively through formation and ministry.
- If divorced and remarried, have obtained a declaration of nullity or a canonical dissolution of the prior marriage. If more than one declaration of nullity (including lack of form cases) or canonical dissolution of the marriage is needed (for husband & wife), the man may not be considered for the diaconate. If a man marries civilly prior to having obtained a declaration of nullity or a canonical dissolution of the prior marriage, he may not be considered for the diaconate.
- Never have procured or helped another person procure an effective abortion.
- Never have undergone an effective vasectomy nor will the applicant’s wife have undergone an effective tubal ligation.
- Never have been involved in any activity that would be unbecoming to the clerical state or that would bring scandal to the Church.
- Be keeping the needs of his family as a priority.
- Be at least a high school graduate and be able to complete the academic requirements of the formation program.
- Be physically, psychologically and emotionally sound and be able to function without the need for constant support or counseling.
- Have demonstrated ability and a willingness to minister to the needs of fellow parishioners and to the wider community.
- Have completed at least 5 of the required courses in the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program of the Athenaeum (or its equivalent).
- Be endorsed by his present pastor and parish pastoral council.
- Will have completed (minimally) the theological and ministerial requirements for obtaining a certificate in lay ministry. (Education is evaluated on an individual case basis).
Deacon Mark Machuga
Director of the Office of the Diaconate
Office 100 East Eighth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Contact Deacon Mark