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Program for Diaconal Formation

“Preach the Gospel always, when necessary use words.”
St. Francis of Assisi, Deacon


With the Second Vatican Council came the restoration of the permanent diaconate, re-establishing in the Latin Rite a role that had not existed since the early church. Today, more than 15,000 men in the United States alone have answered this unique calling.

The Diaconal Formation program at Christ the King Seminary can be traced back to the service of deacons in the Church documented from the times of the Apostles. There is a distinctiveness to the ministry of deacons as they work together with the priest and lay men and women, yet are called to embody the work of Christ in service.

For some, the call is strong, immediate and clear. For others it is more subtle and gradual, requiring much reflection. It is for this reason that potential candidates at Christ the King spend their first year in inquiry and discernment in what is termed the Inquiry Path.

Following Inquiry, applicants to the Diaconal Formation program go through a year of Aspirancy that centers on taking and completing the Introduction to Theology course as well as classes on scripture and church history. Upon acceptance into the program, the candidate enrolls in either certificate or graduate studies at Christ the King Seminary for the next four years. Spouses participate in many of the classes as well and are a key part of the deacon's ministry. Spousal involvement is considered so crucial, in fact, that his spouse must provide written consent for the candidate to be ordained. Additionally, on the first weekend of each month from September through May, candidates stay at the Seminary from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon for study, prayer and reflection.

Following ordination from Christ the King Seminary, deacons serve in the Ministry of the Word, Liturgy and Charity.

To keep up to date and to maintain a good spirituality, deacons are required to have continuing education and a retreat every year. The new deacon is provided with much support and mentoring from his fellow deacons and is offered ample opportunity to grow in his new ministry.

If you sense that you have the talents and the grace to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ then perhaps God is calling you to the Permanent Diaconate. You may contact Deacon John Leardon at (716) 652-4308 (Diaconate Office) or (716) 689 2924 (home) or to discuss the diaconal formation program.