Archdioces of Milwaukee Print Logo  

Admission Process

The process for admissions to the diaconate program is described.

Admissions & Selection for Diaconal Ministry Formation
(NDPD, 159-181)


DiscernmentI. INQUIRY

How to begin a formal inquiry

  1. Contact: Deacon Dale Nees, Director – Diaconate Formation
    (414) 758-2212 (For English Speaking)

  2. Contact: Mr. Manuel Maldonado-Villalobos, Associate Director
    (414) 758-2207 (En Español or English)

  3. And/or visit us at Archdiocese of Milwaukee Offices at Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center
    3501 S. Lake Dr. St. Francis, WI 53235 (directions)



Attend one of our Regional Inquiry for Discernment Sessions that are held on Fall, Winter and Spring every year. These inquiry sessions are being held regionally.

To help you in this discernment process please read the Guide for Personal Discernment

Para leer la guía de Discernimiento Personal en español presione aquí

1. Interact with other men and their wives interested in exploring a vocation to the diaconate (WIVES' ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND ALL SESSIONS)

2. Sessions include:

  • Overview of the Diaconate in the U.S.A. and Milwaukee
  • Role and Function of the Deacon
  • History, Theology and Doctrine on the Diaconate
  • Life & Ministry of the Deacon – Word and Liturgy
  • Life & Ministry of the Deacon – Charity
  • Overview of the Pillars of Formation
  • Vocation of Deacons & Deacon Wives'
  • Being Called, Both of You? – Discernment
  • Diocesan Admission & Screening Process

3. Diaconate Formation is a comprehensive ministry formation process involving the four pillars of theological, pastoral, spiritual, and human formation. For the deacon it consists of three paths: aspirancy, candidate and post-ordination.

  • ASPIRANCY: a time to discern the capability and readiness of an aspirant to be nominated to the bishop for acceptance as a candidate for diaconal ordination (NDPD, 182). The goal of aspirancy is to enable the aspirant to demonstrate the possibility of a diaconal vocation and an appropriate level of readiness for eventual selection into candidate formation (Ibid, 183).
  • Para el documento de Aspirantado en español presione aquí...
  • CANDIDATE: is the occasion for continued discernment of a diaconal vocation and immediate preparation for ordination (Ibid, 204). The candidate path must last at least three years, in addition to the propaedeutic period (aspirancy) for all candidates.(Ibid, 205).
  • POST-ORDINATION: "is first and foremost a process of continued conversion." The goal of which is to responsibly address the various aspects of a deacon's ministry, the development of his personality and, above all, his commitment to spiritual growth. The primary source for post-ordination formation is the ministry itself (Ibid, 239).

III. Endorsement of the Pastor

Obtain the required endorsement from your parish Pastor. He will want to meet with you and your spouse (if married) to establish a relationship, if one does not currently exists, that will, with time, convince him that you are:

  • A Catholic of good standing and repute
  • Show evidence of the qualities, attitudes, experience and spirituality deemed necessary for admission into aspirant formation
  • Active and involved in parish and other community service
  • In full communion with the Church; if a recent convert or a returning Catholic you must be in this “new” relationship for at least three years prior to application
  • For those married - in a positive, loving, stable marriage; for single men - living a stable celibate state of life
  • Have full consent of your spouse (divorced and annulled marriages – are there obstacles present which might affect your viability as a candidate for the diaconate?); for those recently widowed – a three year period to allow for bereavement is required before application will be considered; newly married or those whose marriages have been recently validated – five years is required before application will be considered
  • Properly motivated and give evidence of an overall personal balance and moral character
  • Frequently participate in adult faith enrichment opportunities (retreats, spiritual direction/companioning, days of reflection, study of scripture and church teachings)
  • Free of canonical impediments or irregularities (see CIC 1040-1042)


Application materials will be forwarded only to those applicants whose preliminary information received in the Confidential-Pastor’s Endorsement Packet has been determined to be consistent with the admission criteria and a potential vocational calling to the diaconate. The Office for the Diaconate has the right to withhold invitation to or participation in any of the application, admission or formation processes for the diaconate within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee at any time. All application materials and information become the confidential (non-returnable) property of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, to be used solely in the selection, admission and formation process for diaconate formation.

The formal application and screening process will include the compilation of the following documents:

  1. A church certificate of Baptism, Confirmation, and if relevant, marriage, issued within the past six months

  2. Proof of age: The USSCB has established the minimum age of ordination at thirty-five years

  3. A completed application form, and a consent form regarding psychological consultation and the confidentiality of consultative reports

  4. A recent photograph of the nominee and, if married, of his spouse and family

  5. A personal handwritten statement from the wife of a married applicant indicating her initial consent for his application and entrance into aspirant formation

  6. A marital assessment

  7. A "perceiver inventory" for the deacon

  8. A faith and theological knowledge inventory

  9. Letters of recommendation (parish staff, personal, others as required)

  10. A recent medical certificate

  11. Official transcripts of past or present academic studies

  12. A written report of the rector of any previous house in which the candidate has spent time in formation, including explicit reference to the evaluation of the candidate and the votes he received

  13. A background check (criminal, credit, and sexual predator) under the auspices of the diocesan diaconate office

  14. Proof of US Citizenship or Permanent Resident Status

  15. A letter of recommendation from the applicant's employer

Diaconate Formation

Mary Mother of the Church Pastoral Center
3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Deacon Dale T. Nees

Manuel Maldonado-Villalobos
Associate Director

(También información en español)

Charmaine Pfeifer
Administrative Assistant

This site is powered by the Northwoods Titan Content Management System

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408