Formation Program

Every two years the Diaconate Formation Program begins acceptances for those men who are members of a parish in The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington who are discerning the vocation of the diaconate. The next intake period will close in April of 2026 for a prospective ordination date of June 2031. All inquiry forms received from May of 2024 through April of 2026 will be considered for prospective offer of application to diaconate formation in that cohort.

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: two years of discernment, called aspirancy, which start with a mandatory retreat in October for the aspirants, and three 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 second year of aspirancy and the three years of candidacy, aspirants and 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 various parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington where men attend either with their instructor or in small groups video-conferenced to the instructor’s location.

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.

Come and See the Deacon Experience

Interested in becoming a deacon?

The Office of the Permanent Diaconate of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington fosters vocations to the permanent diaconate and coordinates the formation of candidates for ordination. Formation of a new class for ordination begins with a retreat in the Fall to start a year of aspirancy. The initial selection process for this class will begin with a series of “Come and See” events at various parishes around the Archdiocese in January through March. Potential applicants can learn more about the permanent diaconate and the formation program by contacting Deacon Charles Huber, Assistant Director of Formation at 301-853-4582.

Applicants must be baptized Catholic men between the ages of thirty and sixty (at the time the formation program begins), active in the parish, and recommended by their pastors.

Come & See meetings for the diaconate

Deacon Charles Huber
Assistant Director of Formation
[email protected]