How to become a catholic deacon

Updated February 21, 2017

Deacons are ordained ministers of the Roman Catholic Church. They perform various services at the parish level and are regarded as servants of the Pope, as opposed to priests, who are assistants to the Pope. Men who are interested in becoming deacons must go through a rigorous eligibility process before they are allowed to train for this position.

Determine whether you meet the age requirement by being at least 35 years of age.

Meet baptismal requirements by having been baptised in the Roman Catholic Church and be practicing members, receiving the sacraments of the Church. If you were baptised as an adult, you must be a practicing member of the Church for at least five years before you can apply to become a deacon.

Satisfy marriage requirements by ensuring that the Church recognises your marriage. If you are divorced, obtain an annulment from the Church. Applicants for the diaconate cannot remarry. If you have never been married, or if your wife predeceases you, you will be expected to live a life of celibacy.

Be an active member of your parish by offering assistance with the liturgy, in parish groups and with the less fortunate.

Meet education requirements by earning a high school diploma or a GED.

Ensure that you are in good health.

Ensure that you can dedicate time to the formation program, a course of study for prospective deacons that takes about five years to complete.

Pray for guidance about your desire to join the diaconate to ensure that this path is right for you and has been divinely sanctioned.

Discuss your decision with your family; if you are married, your wife's consent and support is required.

Discuss your decision with your priest, who can help you decide if life as a deacon is right for you based on your responses and on his knowledge of the requirements.

Submit an application to the diocesan diaconate office through your priest, who will present you to the diocesan council by sending a letter confirming your good repute as a practicing Catholic.

Prepare for intensive screening, which includes several interviews with you, your wife and any children living at home, an application for canonical dispensations for past misconduct, if required, and psychological evaluation.

Submit the required documents, including certificates of baptism, confirmation and marriage, if applicable; proof of age; application, consent for psychological consultation and confidentiality of consultative reports; a recent photograph of you and your wife, if applicable; a letter from your wife stating her support and consent; letters of recommendation, including one from your employer; recent medical certificate; transcript of academic studies; a background check; proof of legal residency; and a report from the rector of the house where you spent time in formation.

Wait for an assessment of readiness. The diaconate committee will assess your readiness through a review of your letters of recommendation, your autobiographical statement, an interview and a review of your pastoral experience.

Wait for a decision from the bishop, who reviews supporting documents and makes the final decision.


If you're not chosen for admission, you will be advised on steps you can take to be better prepared for future consideration.

Things You'll Need

  • Certificates of baptism, confirmation and marriage
  • Proof of age
  • Application for admission to the diaconate
  • Consent for psychological consultation
  • Photograph of the candidate and his wife
  • Letter of spousal support
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Recent medical certificate
  • Academic transcripts
  • Background check
  • Proof of legal residency
  • Report from a rector
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Tina Amo has been writing business-related content since 2006. Her articles appear on various well-known websites. Amo holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in information systems.