Facebook Twitter Contact Safe Environment Intranet for Staff and Parishes The Cathedral of Christ the Light

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools


Deacon Formation

You are here: Home / Offices / Clergy Services / Deacon Formation

Deacon Formation

In response to contemporary circumstances and needs, bishops attending Vatican Council II voted to restore the ancient office of the permanent diaconate.  The move to establish the diaconate in Oakland originated with the Priests Senate in 1973. Bishop Begin approved the program in 1974. The first deacon class of twenty-seven men was ordained on February 17, 1978.  Since then, six additional classes have been ordained. Currently, over 100 deacons provide distinguished service to the community.

The formation process moves through stages:  Inquiry and Discernment, Aspirancy, Candidacy and finally Ordination.  As with all vocations, a man considering the Permanent Diaconate must discern God’s will for his life and whether he is being called to be a deacon.  During the Inquiry and Discernment stage, workshops providing tools for discernment are conducted prior to application to the program.  These workshops are for the inquirer and his wife, if married.

We can place your name on a waiting list for the next formation class or provide further information to assist with your inquiry and discernment. Learn more...

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ and the 2013 Newly Ordained Permanent Deacons

Partial list of Candidate Qualifications:

  • Practicing Catholic for 10 years or more
  • Must have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, and be validly married by the Church, if applicable
  • At least 35 years of age but not older than 55 years of age at the time of application
  • Good physical and mental health
  • Gainfully employed or retired
  • Sufficient time to devote to the formation program
  • If married, both oral and written support, endorsement and consent of his wife and family. His wife should be wiling to participate in the formation process
  • Demonstrated leadership ability. Capacity to fulfill the social justice ministry component of the deacon's ministry
  • A commitment to celibacy is required of non-married candidates, as well as widowers



In preparation for the new Permanent Deacon Formation class, the Diocese of Oakland will host a series of discernment meetings. If you are a man between the age of 35 and 55 and would like assistance in clarifying God's possible call in your life to serve the Church as a Permanent Deacon, you need to attend the following sessions. Each session is mandatory in order to be considered for the upcoming formation program. If you have any questions, please contact Fr. Mark Amaral, Director of Deacon Formation or Arlene Beaman, Clergy Services.

Saturday - February 14, 2015 - 9:00 am - Noon

Saturday - March 14, 2015 - 9:00 am - Noon

Saturday - April 11, 2015 - 9:00 am - Noon

Saturday - May 9, 2015 - 9:00 am - Noon

Saturday - June 13, 2015 - 9:00 am - Noon

All Discernment Workshops will be held at
St. Stephen Parish
1101 Keaveny Court at San Luis Road
Walnut Creek, CA


Diaconate Formationdeacon icon

Rev. Mark Amaral
Director for Deacon Formation

Arlene Beaman
Administrative Assistant