Permanent Deacons

What is a Deacon?

He is a man ordained to a ministry of service. He is an ordained person living in the lifestyle of the laity—over 90 percent are married. The deacon's service is threefold: service of the Word (proclaiming the Gospel message, teaching, conducting retreats, counseling), service of the altar (witnessing marriages, baptizing, presiding at wakes and funerals, conducting prayer services), and service of charity (serving the poor, giving voice to those who are silenced, being involved in social justice).

In the Catholic Church, deacons are "the eyes and ears of the bishop;" that is, they are the bishop’s immediate representatives in the execution of his concerns. They are his extended "sense perception" among the people. Deacons take note of the moral condition of the people, identify the sick and the needy, and oversee the bishop’s decisions concerning them. People often approach the bishop with their concerns through the deacons. On a practical level, most deacons assist pastors in their local parishes with the many and varied pastoral tasks of the parish.

The Permanent Diaconate Program for the Diocese of Fargo was founded in 1978. There are currently 40 ordained permanent deacons serving the parishes of Eastern North Dakota. Additionally, there are several candidates studying for the Diaconate. Deacons in the Diocese of Fargo participate in nursing home care, ministry to the sick and homebound, jail ministry, St. Vincent de Paul, marriage preparation, alcohol and drug abuse ministry, peer counseling, Habitat for Humanity, wake and funeral services, baptism and communion services, RCIA, and many other Church ministries.

Application Process for New Deacon Class

The application process for the new class of deacon candidates will begin the fall of 2019. A man considering the permanent diaconate needs to contact Fr. Kyle Metzger between September 1, 2019 and November 1, 2019 to set up an introductory interview. He can be reached at 701-356-7957 or Formation will begin the fall of 2020 and conclude the fall of 2025.

In order to meet canonical and local age requirements for ordination, an applicant must be born in 1960 or later, but before 1990.

Deacon candidates and their wives must participate in monthly formation weekends that consist of classes, spiritual direction, and prayer. These happen about once per month, Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. These formation weekends take place in Fargo, ND. Housing is provided for those living outside of Fargo. There is also a yearly retreat that applicants and their wives must attend.

For additional questions about formation for the permanent diaconate call 701-356-7957 or email