Deacon in the Catholic ChurchA deacon in the Catholic Church is an ordained minister. Deacons have a three-fold ministry:

  • Ministry of Charity – serving people in need
  • Ministry of the Word – to live the Gospels daily through action, prayer, study and preaching.
  • Ministry of Liturgy – serving at the altar, including performing baptisms, witnessing marriages and officiating at funerals.

Deacons may be single or married and must be at least 35 years old at the time of ordination. The maximum acceptable age is determined by viable service capability after ordination. The expectation for ongoing service is at least ten years after ordination.


Diaconate formation brings reality to a man’s call to the Church and the Church’s call to the man. Formation is a 4-plus year process where academics, spirituality, community and self-awareness are developed leading to ordination and the life-long commitment to serve the Church. More specifically, the program is structured as follows:

  • Application Phase
  • Inquiry Phase
  • Aspirancy Phase
  • Candidacy Phase

Each year of candidacy includes:

  • A seven-day summer school session in August and one weekend per month (Friday evening through Sunday noon) at Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri;
  • One Saturday per month at a diocesan location;
  • One weekend retreat at a determined retreat center.
  • Post-Ordination Formation (One Saturday per month at a diocesan location for three years after ordination)

For more information contact the Vocations Office at 515-237-5014 for additional information.