Following a great response, seven men have been selected by our diocese to go forward to the next stage of training.


This interview, broadcast on ‘God send Sunday’ on KFM, gives a background to the permanent diaconate.


Update – June 2009

Our invited interested parties to apply for the Permanent Diaconate in Autumn 2008. The expression of interest was very encouraging.

Seven men have now been accepted into a propaedeutic year which is a year of discernment. This will be followed by three years of formation and training.

Applications for the permanent diaconate are now closed in this diocese and will re-open again the present candidates have completed their training.

Vocations director

Rev. Ruairi ODomhnaill

Newbridge, Co. Kildare
Tel: 045-434069 Mobile: 083-3343744

Permanent Diaconate

The diaconate is an ordained ministry which traces its origins back to Apostolic times. As part of a process of renewal of ministries in the Church, both lay and ordained, the Second Vatican Council decided to restore the diaconate as a distinct ministry.

Permanent deacons are not substitute priests’, nor are they intended to take the place of religious, or of lay ministers.

It is permanent in the sense that it is not simply a stage on the way to priesthood, and those who are ordained will serve as deacons. The principal responsibilities of the deacon is to exercise a ministry of charity; to proclaim the Gospel; assist the priest at the celebration at the Eucharist and at the celebrations of baptism and marriage; and, to preside at funerals.

It is open to married and single men to apply. A married man who is ordained a deacon is expected to honour his marriage commitment. The Church will not ordain the man unless his wife gives her consent in writing. Deacons who are widowed must also observe the norm of celibacy. However, the widow of a deacon may marry with the Church’s blessings.

Single men ordained to the diaconate, whether preparing for the priesthood or not, must take a vow of celibacy. They are not allowed to marry.

The sacrament of holy orders is irrevocable. It is extremely important that the discernment of a call be confirmed prior to ordination.

Introduction of Permanent Diaconate in Ireland

In October 2000 the Irish Episcopal Conference decided “in the light of the pastoral needs of the Church in Ireland” that the time was now right for the restoration of the permanent diaconate. The bishops applied to the Holy See for permission to establish the permanent diaconate in Ireland.

Some years previously (in 1998) the Holy See had published a number of documents which were intended to form the basis for the better regulation of the permanent diaconate, which had developed quite differently in different countries. The Irish bishops were asked to prepare a National Directory and Norms based on the documents of the Holy See, outlining the “terms and conditions” under which it was proposed to establish the permanent diaconate in Ireland. The draft National Directory and Norms for Ireland was sent to Rome for approval in December 2002, and the final document received the approval of the Congregation for Catholic Education in July 2005.

In 2006 the Episcopal Conference published The Permanent Diaconate – National Directory and Norms for Ireland.

The document outlines the historical origins of the diaconate and how it came to be restored. It explores the ministry of deacons in the modern Church, and outlines how they should be selected and formed for their ministry.

It is a matter for the Bishop of a particular diocese to establish the permanent diaconate in that diocese. Deacons are typically appointed to a parish near their home, and entrusted by their bishop with specific responsibilities. Some deacons may take on specialised ministries which are in keeping with their gifts and experience. Most deacons will exercise a part-time voluntary ministry, but expenses associated with formation and ministry will normally be paid by their diocese or parish.

Bishops urge all Catholics to participate actively in the life of the Church, and the diaconate should facilitate such participation. The introduction of the permanent diaconate provides an ideal opportunity in each diocese to look again at the meaning of all ministry (lay and ordained), and the relationship between the different gifts and different forms of service.


The Irish Bishops have appointed Rev Dr Gearid Dullea (Diocese of Cork & Ross) as the new Director of Formation for the Permanent Diaconate. Monsignor Dermot Farrell (Diocese of Meath) is the National Director for the Permanent Diaconate.