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Basic Requirements

For Initial Discernment and Admission into Diaconate Formation

Inquiry Phase (Initial Discernment)

Given the nature of the deacon’s ministry of service, discernment of a vocation to the diaconate is always engaged in cooperatively with the Church. Men who express an interest in applying for the diaconate formation must meet certain specific requirements. Pastor’s and deacon’s nominations are mandatory for invitation to the inquiry phase of discernment. After completion of the initial discernment and having gone through some scrutiny the individual may submit his application for acceptance into diaconate formation.

The Office Diaconate Formation is looking for matured men who are already living a lifestyle of service to the Church and their community, men whose lifestyles of service would be further strengthened and sacramentalized by the reception of Holy Orders. Typically, the men recommended by their pastors and deacons have an attitude of Christian service in kindness and humility.

Diaconate Inquiry Nomination Form For Pastors
Diaconate Inquiry Nomination Form For Deacons

Admission to Aspirancy (Diaconate Formation)

In accord with Canon Law, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops establishes the minimum age for ordination to the permanent diaconate at thirty-five (35) for all candidates, married or celibate. The establishment of a maximum age for ordination is at the discretion of the diocesan bishop, keeping in mind the particular needs and expectations of the diocese regarding diaconal ministry and life.

The following are the requirements for admission into Aspirancy (first year of diaconal formation).

Ministerial Involvement

  • Be active in and have a current history of service in the parish;
  • Have a verifiable record of service to the parish community in ministry of the word; liturgy and charity, at least for the past two years;
  • Have demonstrated at least a year of hands-on-service to those in need within his own parish, and/or in the larger community. This is a critical key factor in deciding whether to continue the application process. Types of service would include, but not limited to:
    • helping the poor and homeless,
    • ministry to those in jail and prisons,
    • visiting those in hospitals or confined to their homes due to illness and;
    • caring for the bereaved

Vocational Support and Sacraments

  • Must have full support and recommendation of the pastor;
  • Have full consent and support of wife (if married) and family;
  • Have received the Sacraments of Initiation;
  • If a convert to Catholicism, must be five (5) years beyond reception into full communion in the Catholic Church

Age, Residency, Health and Employment

  • Be at least 30 years of age and not older than 55 years of age at the time of submitting application for admission to diaconate formation;
  • Must reside in the Diocese of Fort Worth for a minimum of three (3) years;
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident;
  • Be in good health: sufficiently active and energized to endure the rigors of the formation program and later the demands of diaconal ministry;
  • Have a stable employment history, a stable job and a favorable financial situation

Education, Faith Formation, and Background

  • Have at least a high school education or an accredited general equivalency diploma (GED), with an ability to do the required college-level academic work of the program;
  • If English is not the native language, must have a reasonable grasp of the English language (be able to have a basic conversation). This is a critical key factor in deciding whether to continue the application process;
  • Have completed the diocesan Safe and Sacred training and criminal background check
  • No criminal record (felony)
  • Be a mature person, in good psychological health and free of addictive behaviors
  • Be free from all canonical irregularities and impediments* (canon 1041) for the reception of Holy Orders

Civil Status

If single:

  • Must be single and celibate for at least three (3) years before he can apply to demonstrate that he enjoys a stable, settled life, and has a history of healthy relationships
  • Able and willing to accept the gift of celibacy, understanding the full implications of this charism

If married:

  • Must be in a stable and healthy sacramental matrimony of at least ten (10) years or longer. This is a critical key factor in deciding whether to continue the application process
  • Enjoy the full, genuine, and active support of his wife who is willing to participate in the formation program
  • If wife is Catholic, she too must be active in and in good standing with the Church and your parish
  • Should the wife precede him in death, he must be willing to remain unmarried and celibate
  • If the Inquirer and/or his wife has a previous marriage which ended in divorce, annulment(s) must be completed, a Declaration of Nullity granted, and convalidation or sanation completed prior to inquiry sessions

If single or widowed:

  • If widowed, have at least two (2) years to heal and recover from the loss of his spouse and be willing to freely embrace celibacy

Canonical Impediments

Canonical Prohibitions for Receiving Orders

Deacons are sacred ministers (members of the hierarchy). In order to minimize/avoid any possible issue during formation any men who may have incurred in any of these impediments will not be accepted even for Inquiry.

Canonical Impediments

Canonical prohibitions (can.1041) which can lead to denial of invitation to the initial discernment and/or admission to Aspirancy include:

  • Insanity, a diagnosed mental illness or addiction;
  • Commission of apostasy, heresy or schism;
  • Being ordained or in perpetual vows as a member of a religious order;
  • Being married outside of the Church or being in an invalid marriage;
  • Commission of voluntary homicide;
  • Performing, financing, procuring or cooperating in an abortion;
  • Attempting suicide;
  • Self-mutilation including vasectomy or tubal ligation;
  • Impersonation of an ordained minister;
  • Involvement in any activity that would be unbecoming to the clerical state or that would bring scandal to the Church



Juan Rendon, DMin
Director of Diaconal Formation

Rev. Michael Greco
Director of Spiritual Formation

Dcn. Rigoberto Leyva
Coordinator of Pastoral Field Formation

Josie Castillo
Administrative Assistant

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