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How to Become a Deacon

How to Become a Deacon
To become a deacon in the Diocese of Joliet a man needs to properly discern that he has a true calling and be accepted into the Diaconate Formation program comprised of two unified paths: a one year Aspirancy period and a 3 1/2 year Candidacy path. Formation sessions throughout the combined 4 1/2 year formation program are held at the Blanchette Catholic Center in Crest Hill on Monday and Thursday evenings from 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. and periodically on Sunday afternoons. The spring term begins in late January and concludes prior to Memorial Day and the fall term begins in mid-August and ends prior to Christmas.

The Aspirancy Path is one year in length and should be viewed as a trial period to determine whether an aspirant is prepared to continue on to the Candidacy Path. Wives of married men are required to attend the periodic three-hour formation sessions held periodically on Sunday afternoons throughout the year and a weekend retreat. Wives are also encouraged to attend other formation sessions as well. Aspirants are also required to participate in individual spiritual direction. At the conclusion of the Aspirancy period, the Diaconate Committee on Admissions and Scrutinies will assess the aspirant’s suitability and readiness to advance to the Candidacy Path.

The Candidacy Path follows successful completion of Aspirancy and is 3 1/2 years in length. Successful completion of Aspirancy is determined through a formal assessment conducted by the Committee on Admissions and Scrutinies.  This committee will consider the aspirant’s competence and progress in the four dimensions of diaconate formation (intellectual, spiritual, human and pastoral) together with other assessments which have been completed during Aspirancy. Petitioners for admission to Candidacy will be interviewed to appraise readiness for nomination to the Candidacy Path. Wives of married men will also be interviewed to determine their level of support for their husband’s petition. The Bishop will select those to be admitted to Candidacy.
As was the case in Aspirancy, participation in periodic three-hour formation sessions on Sunday afternoons and attendance at a weekend retreat is required of both candidates and wives. Candidates are also required to participate in individual spiritual direction. An annual evaluation of candidates will determine whether continuation in the Diaconate Formation program is appropriate.
Prerequisites for Admission to Aspirancy
•    At least 31 years of age, but not more than 62 years of age by August 1st of the year of admission.
•    A high school diploma or its equivalent.
•    Fully initiated Catholic and a practicing member of a parish within the Diocese of Joliet for at least four years.
•    At least three years of significant involvement in some aspect of lay ministry and/or in charitable or social justice/peace activities.
•    If married, be in a valid Catholic marriage and have the consent of his wife. If unmarried, be living a celibate lifestyle.
•    Demonstrated stability in life situations: marriage, family, employment, residence, physical and emotional health.
•    You must fully discuss your desire to enter the Diaconate Formation Program with your Pastor prior to completing and submitting an application.   It is important that your Pastor fully supports your desire to enter into Formation.

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in the Diocese of Joliet Diaconate Formation Program.  Applications to the Class of 2020 are now closed.  We will be accepting applications for the Class of 2022 in the Fall of 2017.  Please direct any questions via email to: diaconate@dioceseofjoliet.org


Your brother in Christ,


Deacon Bart Federici

Associate Director

Office for the Diaconate

Diocese of Joliet