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Diaconate Formation


“As he walked by…he saw two brothers…He said ‘come follow me…’ [and they] followed him.” Mt. 4:18-20


Do you feel called to a ministry of service?  That will be your ministry for life as a deacon: service of the Word, service of the altar and service of charity. Service of the Word: proclaim the gospel message, teach, lead retreats, and provide counseling; not only from the pulpit, but also through your daily job in the marketplace. Service of the altar: assist at Mass, baptize, witness marriages, preside at vigils and graveside services, and conduct prayer services. Service of Charity: minister to the homeless, the sick, the poor, and the imprisoned, be the voice of those who are silenced, get involved and take a stand on issues of social concern: abortion, immigration, death penalty, euthanasia…   Reading about the deacon’s ministry of service leads to the question of the requirements for consideration of acceptance into the program, the application process, and the formation program and the time that it takes to complete it.  

These are the requirements that a man must fulfill at the time of application. 



32 to 55 years old when entering the Diaconate Formation Program 


  • Baptism Certificate (less than 6 months old) 

  • First Communion Certificate

  • Confirmation Certificate

  • Marriage Certificate (if married)

Marital Status 
If married: live in a stable relationship and have the complete support and permission of your wife as well as her commitment to accompany you to the required diaconate formation classes and activities. If there are children, their support is also necessary and they must be old enough to be left alone or demonstrate that adequate child care will be available.
If single: must live a chaste life; you will not be permitted to marry once ordained a deacon.

High-School diploma, GED, or equivalent


  • Parish Ministry Formation Program (PMFP) and corresponding Specialization Course

  • Completion of at least one year of the Continuing Ministry Formation Program (CMFP)-Ministerial Leadership Formation track

  • Safe Environment Training (San Bernardino Diocese Safe Environment program)

  • Meet background check with fingerprints criteria

Parish Life
At least three years of significant ministry and leadership at a parish in the Diocese of San Bernardino (Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Lector, Liturgy Specialist, Social Outreach, etc.).

Application and Evaluation Process

  • The first step is to have the Pastor/Pastoral Coordinator/Parish Administrator complete and submit the “Inquirer Recommendation Form” and a letter of recommendation to the Director of the Office for Deacons. 

  • Complete and submit an application package.  It will take a minimum of six months for the Office for Deacons to screen, review, and evaluate the information provided.  This period of six months is termed “Inquirer Phase.” 

  • Applications submitted by February 15th will be reviewed and evaluated for the possibility of acceptance into the program in the fall of same year.  Applications submitted after February 15th will be reviewed and evaluated for the following year.

Formation Process

The formation program will take at least five years to complete.

Aspirant Phase 

  • A minimum of two years of discernment of the call to the Diaconate

  • One weekend of formation per month (Saturday and Sunday, 9:00AM-4:00PM)

  • A directed practicum

  • One weekend retreat at the beginning of the program

  • One weekend retreat at the end of each year


Candidate Phase

  • A minimum of a three-year period of formation

  • Two weekends of formation per month  

  • Three directed practica. 

  • One weekend retreat at end of first two years. 

  • One five-day pre-ordination canonical retreat

Fees (per semester) 
$1000 for the couple; $1000 to the parish; and $1000 for the Diocese. 


For any additional information, please contact the Office for Deacons. 

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