The process of becoming a permanent deacon for the Archdoicese of Dubuque takes approximately five years from the time a person requests an application until the actual ordination. Admission to a formation program is a key moment in which the Church begins to exercise the gift of vocational discernment. Because this gift involves a right and serious obligation of the Church, a prayerful and deliberative process is undertaken.
A man interested in becoming a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate should call or write the Permanent Diaconate Office. An application is requested through his pastor. After filling out the rather extensive application and writing an autobiography, the applicant procures the necessary church documents for baptism, confirmation, and marriage, if the applicant is married. He will also need to procure medical and dental records as well as all education records beginning with high school. The completed application with a picture of the applicant is submitted to the office of the Permanent Diaconate. The pastor also sends his recommendation. The director will review the application documents and forward them to the members of the Permanent Diaconate Formation Board.
The applicant (and, if married, his wife) undertakes a psychological evaluation. Results of the evaluation are kept in strict confidence and are only made available to the Permanent Diaconate Formation Board.
The Permanent Diaconate Formation Board conducts a final review of all the materials received in the admissions process before the applicant is notified of a final decision. Throughout the entire process of admissions, all the information is kept confidential and is used solely by the Board in the assessment of potential candidates. At anytime an applicant may request a meeting with the director or a member of the Board to discuss any decisions that are made in his regard.
Requests for an application can be made at any time. However, it should be noted that a new formation class for diaconate candidates and their wives begins in January of odd numbered years. Applications must be filed by March 31st of the year before formation classes begin.