Who is called to be a Deacon?

As an ordained minister of the Church, the deacon is a public sign of Jesus Christ. How and why Christ chooses any man for service as an ordained minister in the Church is a mystery. Discerning that call takes time, and it involves many people in conversation and prayer: the candidate, his spouse and family, the Church as represented by the bishop and program directors, and people who know the candidate, especially his parish priest, teachers and mentors along the way.

There are standards of admission to help the Church provide the people of God with the best possible ordained ministers. Men who are considering applying for the permanent diaconate are encouraged to carefully and prayerfully read through the following list of considerations, which represent the basics needed to enter the program. If you cannot answer these considerations positively, then the permanent diaconate may not be for you – at least, not at this time. If there are one or two considerations about which you are unsure, please talk with us about them. We will do our best to help you decide whether or not to apply at this time. If you can respond affirmatively to these considerations, then return to prayer and ask the Lord to bless your next step of completing and mailing the application forms.

The following considerations apply to all applicants:

  • You must be a baptised and confirmed Catholic male between the ages of 21 and 56. By Canon law, the earliest a single man can be ordained is age 25 and the earliest a married man can be ordained is age 35. Normally a man would be no more than 60 at the time of ordination.
  • You must be in good standing with and active in the Church and your parish. At a minimum this means:
    • You are faithful in attending Sunday Mass and regular confession.
    • Prayer is integral to your life.
    • You have a mature and informed Catholic faith.
    • You accept and support the teachings of the Church.
    • You have a sense of a vocation to service.
    • You are perceived as a man of integrity within the community.
    • You would have the recommendation of your parish priest.
  • You must be willing to serve the Church under the direction of the Archbishop and by supporting the work of clergy.
  • You must be in good physical health, sufficiently active to endure to rigors of the formation program and later the demands of ministry.
  • You must be in good mental health, a mature person and free of addictive behaviours.
  • You must be stable in your employment.
  • You must be open to personal, spiritual, theological and pastoral formation (normally) over at least four years. This will include the completion of tertiary studies in theology (attendance at classes and completion of assignments), plus, commitment to other formation activities held over part of a weekend each month. This is a serious commitment and you must be confident that you can balance it without detriment to your family life, prayer life and work life.
  • You must be willing to take place in ongoing formation after ordination.

The following considerations depend on your marital status:

If you are married:


  • You must be in a stable marriage of seven years or longer.  Neither you or your wife may have been married before.  Situations regarding divorce and annulment are reviewed on a case by case basis.
  • You must be willing to accept celibacy if your wife precedes you in death.
  • You must have the willing support of your wife and children.
  • Your wife must be a practicing Catholic.
  • Your wife must be willing to take part in some parts of formation specifically for deacons' wives.
If you are unmarried:
  • You must not be divorced.
  • You must be willing to freely embrace a lifelong commitment to celibacy.