Formation Program

Persons interested in becoming a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Washington should meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a baptized and confirmed Catholic man at least thirty years old but not older than sixty by the time formation begins
  • Be a registered and active member of a parish of the Archdiocese of Washington
  • Be a citizen of the United States of America
  • If a recent convert, be a practicing Catholic for at least five years
  • If married, be in a healthy, valid Catholic marriage for at least five years
  • If married, have the approval of one’s wife and family
  • If unmarried, be freely willing to embrace celibacy at ordination
  • Be in good health and financially independent
  • Have the support of one’s parish pastor
  • Be proficient in writing and speaking English
  • Have a legacy of service to Church and community
  • Exhibit concern for social justice
  • Be able to relate well with others
  • Have completed a bachelor’s degree (exceptions may be made for those with some college or suitable professional experience)
  • Be open to discern one’s vocation and willing to accept that one may not be called to the diaconate.

The formation program to become a permanent deacon lasts 4.5 years: a half year of discernment and four years of pastoral, spiritual and academic formation. The formation program is free with the exception of books and other related fees, and is administered by the Archdiocese of Washington.

During the final four years of formation, candidates meet two evenings a week for classes and have responsibilities during the summer and on occasional weekends. Classes are held at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Washington and are video-conferenced to locations in Montgomery County and Southern Maryland.

Persons interested in applying for the formation program are encouraged to submit an Inquirer’s Information Sheet.

Click here to download an Inquirer’s Information Sheet.

The staff of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate Formation is happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us by phone (301-853-5345) or e-mail.