The permanent deacon’s primary vocation to holiness, to be realized in his specific state and mission, demands that he be open to and actively engaged in both spiritual and educational programs designed to further his continued formation and effectiveness.
This commitment relies not only upon a permanent deacon’s willingness to continue his growth, but also to demonstrate it through personal accountability. It is a commitment based upon self-motivation and self-direction, which enhances each permanent deacon’s ministry to the community to which he is called to serve. It is through study, reading, and especially prayer that deacons deepen their own Catholic faith, enrich their ministry, and encourage others by their example to grow in their discipleship of Jesus.
The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States requires that each diocese establish a minimum number of continuing education hours to be completed and reported annually by all active deacons. This does not include, but is in addition to, the requisite annual deacon retreat (Directory, 254).
The scope and nature of instruction should encompass the four (4) general dimensions of a deacon’s ministry: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. The continuous updating of these dimensions is necessary in order to maintain the deacon’s ability to properly minister to the people of God in both Sacrament and charity. The application is to both present and future ministry (Directory 245-249).
Download: Continuing Education Policy (PDF)