Permanent Deacons

What is a Deacon?

He is a man ordained to a ministry of service. He is an ordained person living in the lifestyle of the laity—over 90 percent are married. The deacon's service is threefold: service of the Word (proclaiming the Gospel message, teaching, conducting retreats, counseling), service of the altar (witnessing marriages, baptizing, presiding at wakes and funerals, conducting prayer services), and service of charity (serving the poor, giving voice to those who are silenced, being involved in social justice).

In the Catholic Church, deacons are "the eyes and ears of the bishop;" that is, they are the bishop’s immediate representatives in the execution of his concerns. They are his extended "sense perception" among the people. Deacons take note of the moral condition of the people, identify the sick and the needy, and oversee the bishop’s decisions concerning them. People often approach the bishop with their concerns through the deacons. On a practical level, most deacons assist pastors in their local parishes with the many and varied pastoral tasks of the parish.

The Permanent Diaconate Program for the Diocese of Fargo was founded in 1978. There are currently 40 ordained permanent deacons serving the parishes of Eastern North Dakota. Additionally, there are several candidates studying for the Diaconate. Deacons in the Diocese of Fargo participate in nursing home care, ministry to the sick and homebound, jail ministry, St. Vincent de Paul, marriage preparation, alcohol and drug abuse ministry, peer counseling, Habitat for Humanity, wake and funeral services, baptism and communion services, RCIA, and many other Church ministries.

Upcoming Permanent Diaconate Events

To be notified of upcoming events and deadlines, please contact the Permanent Diaconate Office by phone at (701) 356-7956 or to be added to the contact list.

Diaconate Information Dinners

The next formation cohort of deacons will begin the fall of 2020. Applications will be considered the fall of 2019.

In preparation for the application process, the Permanent Diaconate Office sponsors Diaconate Information Dinners for men who are discerning this vocation. The evening begins with an informal social, at which current deacons and those in diaconate formation are present to offer their insights and experience as a deacon. This is followed by a dinner and formal presentation from the formation staff of the permanent diaconate program. The formation staff will detail the various considerations for a man inquiring about permanent diaconate, as well as explain the application process and the 5-year formation program. Time will be set aside for question-and-answers for the attendees. The next and final informational dinner is below:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
St. James Basilica
622 1st Avenue South
Jamestown, ND 58401
Pre-registration with the Permanent Diaconate Office is required.