Vocation to the Permanent Diaconate

Vocation to the Permanent Diaconate

Welcome to the Vocation to the Permanent Diaconate section.

PathwaysBy this time you may already travelled a difficult and challenging road. There may have been doubts, fears and uncertainty as well as joy. You may have questioned yourself and others about whether you are really being called to serve God as a permanent deacon.

If you persevere and the call still seems genuine, then you may be ready now to offer yourself to God through a vocation to the Permanent Diaconate.

  • Who can apply in Portsmouth diocese?
  • Single men over 35 who feel a call to service of the Church and the World who also feel called to a celibate life.
  • Married men over 40. Most of these candidates will be in the world of work and will continue there after ordination.
  • Indeed it is the role of the permanent deacon to have one foot in the sanctuary and the other in the workplace.
  • The men will have demonstrated the necessary maturity for a life-long commitment.
  • They will be prepared to embark on a year of discernment followed by a 3 or 4 year course of formation.
  • They will be already working collaboratively with priests and lay-people in the local church in works of service and exercising some leadership roles.
  • Above all, they will be men of faith and prayer with a desire to serve others for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

If the Permanent Diaconate Director agrees that you are ready, they you may begin the formal application. If preliminary enquiries are satisfactory then a you will be enrolled in a Propadeutic Year of reflection and discernment run by the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham. This involves attending four weekends with other candidates from around the country, gathering to share, to pray and study together. This time will also include a psychological assessment, undergoing safeguarding checks; and looking at your relationship with God and others as well as your academic ability (to check I will be able to cope with the studies).

There will also be an interview with the Bishop, who is responsible for the final decision.

In a sense this can be the most daunting part of the journey for many, because it’s the time when rejection is possible. What if the Church doesn’t agree that I have a vocation to the diaconate? This, though, is why this section is about “offering” myself to the Church rather than “forcing” myself upon the Church. You have heard what you genuinely think is a call from God but the Church has a right to say whether or not she too recognises that call from God in you, at this stage, just as a man or woman has the right to say no if someone asks for their hand in marriage.

What is the right attitude for me to adopt, then, at this stage? Perhaps it is one of submission to God’s will. It is a letting go of control and handing things over into God’s hands. After all, is it not into God’s loving hands that we wish to place our entire life..?

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld


We hope this information will be of help but it is unlikely to be any real substitute for personal contact to explore your vocation. Therefore we have group meetings or one-to-ones with no commitment - feel free to ring Fr Peter Hart, Permanent Diaconate Director, on 01420 82030 or click here to email Fr Peter.

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