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Hawaii Deacons

The Ministry of the Deacon

Deacon Logo"Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task..."      Acts 6:3

The ministry of the Permanent Diaconate is new, yet in another sense, ancient; it traces its roots to the time of the Apostles.

The Diaconate flourished as an official ministry in the Early Church but, in time it became a step toward priesthood and, thus, became a transitional office. The Second Vatican Council restored the Permanent Diaconate as a unique way to serve the people of God in a threefold ministry of word, sacrament and charity.

The introduction of the Ministry of the Permanent Diaconate to the diocese of Honolulu in 1978 was a bold and forward thinking event that demonstrated a true commitment to providing this service in a unique and powerful way.

The Deacon is empowered by his bishop to administer Infant Baptism, witness marriage, officiate at wakes, funerals and burial services, administer sacramentals, preside at prayer services, distribute Holy Communion, Proclaim the gospel and deliver the homily.

The Deacon's ministry of charity calls him to areas of need in which he demonstrates particular expertise or talent. These areas may include hospital/hospice chaplaincy, prison ministry or other works designed to assist the poor and marginalized members of society.

"The deacon is the Sacrament of Service"

Bishop Larry Silva

Canonical & Diocesan Requirements of All Applicants


  • Have a history of active service in parish or diocesan ministry.
  • Have proven leadership within a parish or diocesan institution.
  • Have demonstrated ability to relate well to people regardless of ethnic, racial, or cultural background, sex, religion, or economic status.
  • Have potential ability to represent the Church in applying Gospel values to contemporary concerns and issues.
  • Have an acceptance of Magisterial teachings with particular acceptance of the teachings of Vatican II.
  • Be an active, fully initiated (Having received Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) male member of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Be of mature faith, good reputation, and have a sense of the nature of the Permanent Diaconate as a vocation in Holy Orders.
  • Be a legal resident of the United States and have resided in the Diocese of Honolulu for a minimum of three (3) years.
  • Be, at a minimum, a high school graduate or equivalent and demonstrate the ability to do advanced academic studies via prerequisite on-line work.
  • Be at least 35 years of age at time of ordination.
  • Be able to provide a doctor's certification of good health.
  • Be able to fulfill formation requirements extending over a period of five (5) years.
  • Be able to speak, understand, read and write English to specific levels of competency.
  • Be a practicing Catholic for at least three (3) years prior to submitting application.


Concerning Marriage and Celibacy


  • Be validly married in the Catholic Church.
  • Obtain the written consent of his wife who must be willing to participate in all formation sessions.

Family Responsibility is primary. The applicant must give due consideration to the ages of his minor children. During the period of formation, time demands on both the applicant and the wife will be significant. This fact must be carefully considered, especially by a family with young children.

 An UNMARRIED applicant must understand the current Church discipline requiring celibacy for life for the Permanent Deacon. He should discuss this requirement thoroughly with his pastor, another priest, or an unmarried deacon.

 A WIDOWED applicant must have a minimum of three (3) years readjustment/grieving period before applying.


Inquiry and Application Process

Applications will be accepted only after attendance at a Deacon Formation Inquiry Weekend. Upcoming dates and details will be published in the News & Events section of this website and in the diocesan eNewsLetter. If interested, we invite you to visit our Inquiry and Application Process  page.

Attendance is mandatory for all those contemplating the submission of an application.

Married applicants must attend the weekend as a couple. Applications will not be accepted without the wife's attendance.

All expenses (including airfare for neighbor islanders) will be borne by the diocese. Voluntary donations to offset the expense will be accepted upon completion of the weekend.

Academic Prerequisites

Successful completion of three designated courses (Catholic Beliefs, Introduction to Scripture and Survey of Catholic Doctrine) offered "on-line" through the Virtual Learning Center for faith Formation (VLCFF) will be required prior to entering Aspirancy Year (the first year of Formation).

Information on registration for the VLCFF is available through the University of Dayton. For questions or assistance in registering for VLCFF courses, please contact Lina Carahasen, Administrative Associate, Office of Permanent Deacon Formation at lcarahasen@rcchawaii.org.

Please note that completion of these courses does not guarantee acceptance into the Deacon Formation Program.