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Posted June 9, 2008

Permanent Deacon Candidates Down 8 Percent

Taken from the CARA Report


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Over half of all currently active deacon programs were established in the 1970s, but a substantial proportion, 31 percent, were established since 1990. Three programs have been reactivated or newly formed within the last year; others have been redesigned in light of the new norms for the diaconate formation.

The ten largest diaconate formation programs enroll over a quarter of all deacon candidates ó with 480 deacon candidates and another 92 aspirants in discernment. These ten programs expect to ordain 131 deacons (26 percent of all deacon ordinations expected in 2008). The programs with the largest numbers of candidates include:

Atlanta 81
Los Angeles 64
Philadelphia 54
Pittsburgh 46
Washington 44
Trenton 40
Chicago 39
Tyler 39
Camden 38
Newark 35

Eighty-one percent of candidates for the permanent diaconate are in their 40s and 50s (the minimum age at ordination for deacons is 35). Just 4 percent are under age 40 and 15 percent 60 or older. The vast majority of candidates, 96 percent, are married men. Three percent are single, never married, and 1 percent are widowed or divorced.

More than eight in ten diaconate candidates (83 percent) have at least some college education. More than a third (36 percent) have a bachelorís degree and 27 percent have a graduate degree.