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 Permanent Diaconate

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 called permanent deacons. Married men may be ordained permanent deacons, and single men may be ordained with a commitment to celibacy.

The Office for the Permanent Diaconate provides general information on the vocation of the deacon. It conducts the selection and admission process for inquirers to diaconate formation and provides a diaconate formation program for the diocese. We encourage human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and vocational formation among deacons, candidates, aspirants and inquirers, and our office serves as a resource for placement and other personnel concerns of diocesan deacons.

Father Jonathan J. Wisneski serves as the diocesan director of the Office for the Permanent Diaconate. Kim Bowkley serves as the diocesan administrative assistant for the office. They can both be reached at 724-837-0901.

 A Message from Rome

A message to the permanent deacons of Rome by Pope Benedict XVI, February 18, 2006

"Dear deacons, I am grateful to you for the services you carry out with great generosity in many parish communities of Rome, dedicating yourselves in particular to the ministries of Baptism and the family. By teaching Christ's Gospel, a faculty conferred upon you by the bishop on the day of your ordination, you help parents who ask for baptism for their children to reflect more deeply on the mystery of the divine life that has been given to us, and that of the church, the great family of God."

"Meanwhile, you also proclaim the truth about human love to engaged couples who desire to celebrate the sacrament of marriage, explaining that "marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa'."

"Many of you work in offices, hospitals and schools:  in these contexts you are called to be servants of the truth. By proclaiming the Gospel, you will be able to convey the word that can illumine and give meaning to human work, to the suffering of the sick, and you will help the new generations to discover the beauty of the Christian faith.

"However, it is not enough to proclaim the faith with words alone for, as the Apostle James recalls, 'faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead' (Jas 2: 17). Thus, it is necessary to back up the proclamation of the Gospel with a practical witness of charity, so that 'for the church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity ... but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being' (Deus Caritas Est, n. 25)."