Permanent Diaconate

The Diocese of Des Moines has more than 55 active permanent deacons and 50  retired permanent deacons. They are ordained ministers involved in Ministry of Charity, Ministry of the Word and Ministry of Liturgy. Permanent deacons may be single or married.

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) re-established the diaconate as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. In 1968, the bishops of the United States received approval to restore the diaconate in this country. The Diocese of Des Moines was one of the first in the United States to start a permanent diaconate program. The diocese's first cohort consisting of nine men who were ordained as permanent deacons on June 4, 1972.

Deacons and spousesPermanent deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach the homily, assist at the Eucharist, and celebrate the sacraments of matrimony or baptism. They may also preside at funerals (without Mass), expose the Blessed Sacrament and lead benedictions. Permanent deacons engage in various parish ministries such as faith formation, baptism and marriage preparation and pastoral care. Deacons are active in areas of charity and justice and are often found out in the community visiting the sick and home bound, those incarcerated, working with the homeless, etc. Deacons are to be present and available to answer questions about the Catholic faith, their vocation and be a witness to the secular world. Deacons come "to serve and not to be served."

Permanent deacons may also fulfill roles within the diocese as participants on visioning or consulting committees. In addition, a diaconate council made up of both deacons and deacon wives provide oversight and coordination for diaconate retreats, educational study days, hospitality and other duties as assigned by the bishop or coordinated with the Director of Permanent Diaconate.

Called To Service A 9-minute documentary on the Permanent Diaconate by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

If you think you are being called to the Permanent Diaconate go to this page or contact the Vocations Office for further information about the diaconate.