In the Catholic Church, the diaconate is the first of three ranks in ordained ministry. Deacons preparing for the priesthood are transitional deacons. Those not planning to be ordained priests are permanent deacons.
The USCCB Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations supports the activities of the bishops in promoting the needs and concerns of those in diaconal ministry. It also assists in coordinating the development of diaconal formation programs on the diocesan and national levels. The Secretariat also provides services and liaison support to national organizations and directors of diocesan diaconate offices.
National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States
The National Directory “is an important point of reference for those Churches in which the permanent diaconate is a living and active reality.” It contains the guidelines and directives to be used when preparing or updating a permanent diaconate program and formulating policies for the ministry and life of permanent deacons.
This volume also includes the Basic Standards for Readiness for the formation of permanent deacons in the United States and the Visit of Consultation Teams to Diocesan Permanent Diaconate Formation Programs authored by the USCCB Committee on the Diaconate.