Requirements for Application for Admission to the Diaconate Formation Program 

  • A male, baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church for a minimum period of five years; active and faithful in the practice of the Faith;
  • At least 30 years of age and no older than 58 at the time of application;
  • Actively involved in the Church; is a registered member of a parish or mission, well known, and highly recommended for the program by his pastor and fellow parishioners;
  • Completed at least three years of significant service in a parish, or completed the diocesan Lay Pastoral Ministry Institute Program, or equivalent;
  • A resident of the Diocese of St. Petersburg for at least three years;
  • A reputation as an ethical and moral person in both the Church and civic community;
  • Free from all canonical irregularities and impediments for the reception of Holy Orders;
  • A demonstrated ability to express the reasons he believes he has a potential calling to the diaconate;
  • Evidence of natural gifts for ministry; demonstrated maturity and balance, and good physical and mental health with no condition that would impede diaconal ministry;
  • Financially stable; able to care for his family;
  • A prayerful and discerning person, committed to further spiritual formation;
  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution; exceptions, though rare, are considered for those applicants to demonstrate a capacity to engage in graduate- level work;
  • Grants permission for a comprehensive background investigation; undergoes routine psychological testing and interview;
  • If married, has been married once for a period of at least five years in a stable and sacramental marriage, having the full support of his spouse, who will also participate in the formation program.  Potential applicants who have been divorced and have remarried in the Church will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicant’s wives who have been divorced and remarried in the Church will also be part of the consideration. If an applicant who has been accepted to the formation program exhibits serious marital discord, separation or divorce, the aspirant/candidate may be requested to withdraw from the program or take a leave of absence;
  • Willing and able to remain celibate if his wife precedes him in death;
  • If widowed, has had at least two years to heal and recover from the loss of his spouse;
  • If single, enjoys a stable, settled life, a history of healthy relationships, and is willing and able to accept the gift of celibacy, understanding the full implications of this charism. If single as the result of an annulment, the applicant must have been in the single state for a period of at least three years;
  • If a history of substance abuse exists, has achieved sobriety for at least five years and continues to participate in an appropriate recovery program;
  • If a history of grave addictions exists, has demonstrated a freedom from these addictive behaviors for at least five years and continues to participate in an appropriate recovery program;
  • Accepts that it is the Bishop who assigns a deacon to a parish/entity in the Diocese once ordained. This assignment is based on the needs of a particular parish/entity. The assignment may or may not be to the deacon’s home parish. An applicant is expected to embrace this understanding or he may not be admitted to the formation program;

An exception from any of the above requirements, only for a grave reason, is reserved to the Bishop of St. Petersburg.

If you would like more information, please contact the Office of the Diaconate at (727)341-6826, or email at

This ministry is supported through gifts to the Catholic Ministry Appeal.
This ministry is supported through gifts to the Catholic Ministry Appeal.