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 or permanent resident (holding a “green card”) 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
  • Be capable of college level studies
  • 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 five years: a year of discernment, called aspirancy, which starts with a mandatory retreat in October for the aspirants, and four years of pastoral, spiritual and academic formation as a candidate for Holy Orders. The formation program is free with the exception of books and other related fees, and is administered by the Archdiocese of Washington.

During the four years of candidacy, candidates meet two evenings a week for classes and have responsibilities during the summer and on occasional weekends, including a mandatory retreat for candidates and wives every year in late August. 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 read the selection procedures for the Permanent Diaconate and to submit an Inquirer’s Information Sheet.

Click here to download the 2020 Diaconate brochure.

Come and See Events

A letter from Deacon Charles Huber, Assistant Director of Deacon Formation:

Due to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the remaining Come and See meetings for the diaconate formation program have been cancelled.  While this is a disappointment, as these meetings provide a sharing of the stories of deacons and wives of deacons and a chance for inquirers and wives to ask questions, you still can begin or continue the journey of discernment towards a possible call to the diaconate.

We will be accepting inquiry forms from men interested in the diaconate formation program until April 15, 2020. In addition to filling out an inquiry form, please review the selection procedures, which include a timeline of the inquiry and application process.  Inquiry forms can be mailed to the address at the bottom of the form, or emailed to me at [email protected].

Please contact me with questions about the formation program or the diaconate.  There are resources on this website that may be helpful in your discernment, and I can point you to more resources in response to specific questions.

There are excellent and informative resources on the Archdiocese of Washington website and in the Catholic Standard on this pandemic and how our local church is dealing with it.  I also refer you to an article in the National Catholic Register by a deacon in New England who is also an infectious disease specialist.

I ask for your prayers for those who have died from this and other infectious diseases, and for those whose lives have been disrupted either through the death or illness of a loved one due to this pandemic, or due to the economic disruption that it has caused.

Deacon Charles Huber, Assistant Director of Permanent Deacon Formation

Deacon Charles Huber
Assistant Director of Formation