The Permanent Diaconate

“The generosity of a deacon who spends himself without seeking the front lines smells of the Gospel and tells of the greatness of God's humility that takes the first step to meet even those who have turned their backs on Him.”

- Pope Francis, Rome, 19 June 2021.

The Diaconate as a sacramental gift and mission was given by Christ through the Apostles (Acts 6:1-6) not just ‘to serve tables’ in the original meaning of this expression. Diaconate always is present in the heart of Christ as an attitude of the self-giving love who ‘came not be served but to serve’ (Mt 20:28).

Through the discernment of this vocation, formation before and after ordination, the Church in the Archdiocese of  Southwark wants to promote, nurture and support those Permanent Deacons who wish to give themselves to the service of the Church in their parish, deanery and diocese, without neglecting their own family and professional work.

If you discover in your heart a love burning for God and his people and discern this charism to be recognised and shaped within the Church, God might be calling you to Permanent Diaconate for reasons you yet not understand. These webpages might help you to make the first step to get to know more about the Diaconate and offer the opportunity talk to someone about it. If you hear even the faintest calling to the Diaconate from God, then please read on…

Praying for new vocations

Fr Bart Dudek, Episcopal Vicar for the Permanent Diaconate.

What is the difference between a Permanent and a Transitional Deacon?

Although deacons were a distinct order of service in the early years of the Church, in time the Diaconate became a minor order as part of the progression to the priesthood. Pope Paul VI restored the Diaconate as a distinct order of clergy in 1967, but the Transitional Diaconate remains a stepping stone to ordination as a priest. Every priest is also ordained as a Deacon, typically a year to six months prior to their priestly ordination.

  • Before taking the next steps can you answer ’Yes’ to these questions?
  • Have you been a Catholic for at least 5 years?
  • Are you in good standing in the Church and the wider community?
  • Are you faithful to the teaching of the Church?
  • Are you a man of humility?
  • Are you prayerful?
  • Are you a man of service?
  • Are you in a stable marriage solemnised in the Catholic Church, and will your wife consent to you becoming a Deacon?
  • If you are single, are you prepared to take a vow of celibacy prior to ordination
  •  If you are married, are you prepared to promise celibacy if your wife predeceases you?

Discernment and Formation are a process during which we grow. No one is perfect, but, if you wish to become a Deacon, you must be open to growth and to developing in faith and ministry. If you would like to make an initial enquiry about becoming a Permanent Deacon, then please contact the Director of Formation for Permanent Diaconate, Deacon Ian Black