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Home | Vocations | Permanent Diaconate

Permanent Diaconate

Beginning in the fall of 2015, regional information nights will be conducted throughout the Archdiocese as well as discernment retreats. Applications for candidacy will be available in the fall of 2015. Selection of candidates for the next deacon class will be finalized in the spring of 2016.

The first year of formation, called Aspirancy, will begin in the summer of 2016. Three additional years of formation will follow, culminating with the ordination of deacons in the fall of 2020.

Those interested in learning more about discerning a vocation to the diaconate are encouraged to meet with their pastor.


They must be at least 35 years of age and no more than 65 at the time of ordination, unless exempted by the Archbishop.


They must be in good physical health.

Marital Status

Married or single men are eligible. If married, they must be validly married by the Church for a number of years. Individual cases are determined by the Archbishop. They must also understand the commitment to celibacy if single, or if they are married, the commitment to celibacy if their spouse dies.

Stable Family

They must show evidence of a stable marriage and family life.

Economic Stability

Whether employed or retired, they must be economically stable and self-sufficient.


They must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and be fluent enough in English to be able to participate successfully in the program. It is also desirable that those whose first language is English be able to speak a second language, especially one that will be useful in their pastoral setting.


They must be willing and able to complete successfully the Archdiocesan Deacon Formation Program, and they must establish and maintain an active relationship with an approved spiritual director.

Continuing Formation

They must commit themselves to continuing their formation as a deacon.

Practicing Catholic

They must be a practicing Catholic in their parish or faith community for at least five years, having received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

Ministerial Involvement

They must already model the deacon's role through some ministerial involvement in the life of the faith community.

Involvement of Spouse

The spouse of a married candidate must be fully supportive of her husband's candidacy and be willing to participate in the program.


They must have the recommendation of their pastor, priest administrator, or pastoral coordinator of the parish where they are faithful members, their employer (if employed), and of a staff person or a volunteer member of the parish or faith community who is familiar with their current ministry. If the candidate comes from a parish in which a deacon already serves, the deacon's recommendation is required. Such recommendations will acknowledge a history of involvement in their parish or faith community, especially in a way that shows ministerial commitment and skill. If an applicant has attended a seminary, a reference from the Seminary rector is required.

Personal Qualities and Attributes

In addition to these fundamental requirements, persons seeking to minister in the Archdiocese of Seattle must exhibit the following personal qualities and attributes:
  • They are knowledgeable about current Roman Catholic teachings and practices and have shown a commitment to continuing faith formation.
  • They express their spirituality as an integral part of themselves and nurture their relationship with God through regular prayer.
  • They speak and act in ways congruent with the Church's faith and its moral and social teachings.
  • They respect all individuals and demonstrate sensitivity to the rich ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of parishioners; they celebrate and integrate the individual uniqueness of all persons.
  • They maintain respect for the dignity, worth and potential for growth of individuals and communities and for alternative points of view.
  • They take responsibility for themselves, make decisions, and deal with the consequences.
  • They set goals, articulate personal values, and make decisions in light of personal values and without undue influence from others. At the same time, they can follow goals set by those responsible for the common good and act according to established procedures.
  • They identify their personal strengths and weaknesses, remain open to feedback from others and are able to change behaviors, attitudes, and needs.
  • They have demonstrated involvement in the parish's apostolic ministry, especially to the poor and marginalized.
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