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 of America

Book cover for the national directory for the formation of permanent deacons

The National Directory, 2nd edition is an essential document for dioceses to grow and sustain their permanent diaconate programs. Reflecting on fifty years’ experience since the establishment of the permanent diaconate in the United States, this National Directory, second edition, harmonizes diaconal formation and ministry practices. The second edition focuses on the identity of the deacon as “a living icon of Christ the Servant within the Church” (Basic Norms) and emphasizes the deacon as a minister of Word, Liturgy, and Charity in the Christian community. The norms in this second edition are required for use and go into effect on June 9, 2022.