Discerning the Call to Diaconate

I feel God is calling me to the Permanent Diaconate.”

Discerning a vocation for ministry in the Church requires sustained prayer, seeking information, and conversation with family, parish priest and other people. The permanent diaconate is a vocation of service of Word, Liturgy and Charity and thus a life-long commitment.

Discernment is an essential spiritual process

“To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” -Luke 10:27

The way in which our vocation is lived out takes on a variety of forms.  Some of us are called specifically to religious life, some are called to the priesthood or the Diaconate, others are called to marriage, and still others are called to life as a single man or woman.  Each call is an expression of our shared vocation expressed above in the passage from the Gospel of Luke.

Entering into a time of discernment is about discovering how best to live out that common vocation to love.  It is a task in which we are all called to engage ourselves—not just those discerning a vocation to religious life.

The time of discernment is a time to reflect upon our gifts, talents, desires, and passions.  It is a time to ask God’s help in determining how best to use these wonderful parts of our lives  in order to deepen and extend our love of God, one another, and ourselves.  If, at the conclusion of your period of discernment, you feel called to the Diaconate, then your discernment process was successful, and if you discern a call to remain as a member of the church laity, then your discernment was also successful!

Successful Discernment

The Church traditionally uses the word “discernment” to denote the process of making decisions in light of the Gospel.  So, for example, when a man feels moved by the Spirit to discern the Permanent Diaconate as a way of life, he is invited to enter into a period of discernment.  Over the course of approximately one year he will be asked to get involved with God, himself, and others.

Get Involved with God

To know God’s will is to know God.  Deep personal prayer is where discernment begins.  In prayer, we form a space within our lives to be in His presence.  We allow God to search us out, to desire us, to be one with us, to love us with passionate longing.  In that space we can come to know God and ourselves better. Cherished places of discernment are solitude, nature, Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours (morning and evening prayer), Scripture, spiritual direction and retreat work.

Get Involved with Yourself

Find a good spiritual director who is versed in helping others discern a call to religious life.  She/he will help you get in touch with your desires and passions and help you to understand better how God is moving within your life.  Contact the Diaconate Director’s Office for help in locating a good spiritual director in your area.

Get Involved with Others

When in discernment, it’s important to be involved with the Church’s mission.  In relating to others, we discover that Diakonia is a way of giving and receiving love in the midst of ministry.  Volunteer with an outreach program to the poor in your area.  Get involved with a peace and justice movement.  Become aware and practice care of creation.  Reflect on these experiences with your spiritual director and other discerners.  It’s important to know that discernment takes place in the context of community.  Discernment is not about just “God and Me,” but rather, “God and Us.”

Prayer to Know One’s Vocation

Lord, my God and my loving Father, you have made me to know you, to love you, to serve you, and thereby to find and to fulfill my deepest longings.  I know that you are in all things and that every path can lead to you.

But of them all, there is one especially by which you want me to come to you. Since I will do what you want of me, I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me: into my mind, to show me what you want of me; into my heart, to give me the determination to do it, and to do it with all my love, with all my mind, and with all of my strength right to the end.  Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen.

To begin your discernment process, answer...


  1. I am at least 25 years of age (30 if married) and NOT older than 59 at the beginning of the discernment year? (The next Discernment Cycle begins August 2021)
  2. (and my wife, if married) am/are fully initiated Catholic(s) for at least 5 years?
  3. My wife and I are in a Sacramental Marriage for at least 5 years?
  4. If single, widowed, or divorced, I have lived a celibate lifestyle for at least 5 years?
  5. (and my wife, if married) am/are resident(s) of the Diocese of Orlando for the last 5 years with no intention to move for at least 5 years should I be ordained a Deacon?

If you answered YES to all of the questions above and reviewed the information contained on this webpage, please complete the Diaconate Inquiry Form at the bottom of this page.  This will place you on the inquirer’s contact list which is used to invite you and your wife (if married) to the next Diaconate Discernment Night in your area.

Men seeking to discern this call are encouraged to attend a Diaconate Discernment Night. Six discernment sessions will be held throughout the diocese. 
Dates for the Discernment Nights:
Discernment Nights will take place in the Fall of 2025.

Your Pastor may request an application for you beginning December 1st, 2025. All Applications are due March 1, 2026.

You MUST speak with your family, friends, and Pastor about your sense of this calling.  

Diaconate Contact Form

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