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.

Come and See Events

Come and See 2022 Schedule (Revised January 19, 2022)

Due to the omicron surge, January 2022 Come and See meetings will be online-only. Download the current Come and See schedule for updated information. Online meeting links will not be posted on the website, nor in the handout, but emailed to inquirers who contact Mrs. Diane Biggs at [email protected].

The Office of Diaconate Formation of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington will begin a new cycle of recruitment and preparation of men for the Permanent Diaconate. Formation of the new class for ordination in 2027 will begin with a retreat in October of 2022 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 2022. Potential applicants should review the schedule in order to take advantage of the opportunity to attend and learn more about the permanent diaconate and the formation program. 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.

Deacon Charles Huber
Assistant Director of Formation
301-853-4582