How to Become a Permanent Deacon
What is the Permanent Diaconate?
God calls some men to be permanent deaconsto dedicate their lives to serve the Church in imitation of Christ. Its true that every Christian is called to serve others, but deacons are configured to this calling in a particular way through the sacrament of Holy Orders. The sacrament places an indelible seal or mark on their souls, uniting them to Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom (Mt. 20:28).
Deacons are able to give others not only food for their bodies (they do that, too), but above all, food for their souls. They answer needs that no merely humanitarian mission can.
Permanent deacons minister in many ways: they participate in liturgy (as lectors, reading the Gospel and/or preaching the homily, as Eucharistic ministers); they work at the service of charity and justice (like mission work or prison ministry, for example), offer faith-formation (like RCIA or RCIC as well as marriage preparation), and above all, they witness to the Gospel within their professional and daily life.
How do I become a deacon?
There are two stages of preparation before ordination: the aspirant path (usually one year) and the candidate path; it usually lasts 4-5 years total.
Application takes place through the diocesan office. Once accepted by the bishop, aspirant level of formation begins. Its a time to discern the capacity and readiness for candidacy through prayer, study, spiritual direction, interviews with the formation director and continued parish life.
The candidacy is marked by continued discernment of Gods call and preparation for ordination through the means already mentioned, with a more focused approach.
According to Canon Law, candidates for the permanent diaconate must be at least 25 years old, if unmarried, and at least 35 years old, if married (in this case, he also needs his wifes consent) (c.f. canon 1031).
If an unmarried man is ordained to the diaconate, he commits himself to a life of celibacy; married men commit themselves to the same, should their wife pass away before them (c.f. canon 1037).