The Division of Clergy Personnel


1152.1 Deacon Life in General

1152.1.1 Service to the Archdiocese and Cooperation Among the Clergy
  • Depending on his state in life, the priorities of the deacon are generally considered to be: (1) family; (2) work; and (3) ministry, in that order. The amount of time a deacon devotes to each of these obligations will be determined by the deacon’s available time in consideration of this order of priority.
  • All clergy, by virtue of their sacred ordination and their common mission, namely the building up of the Body of Christ, are to be so united among themselves by the bonds of fraternity and of prayer such that they strive for cooperation among themselves in accord with the prescriptions of particular law. Canon 275, §1
  • To the extent that their regular duties permit, all deacons are urged to make themselves available for service on one or more of the various councils, commissions, boards, and other bodies which presently exist, or which may be created from time to time to further the total pastoral life of the Archdiocese.
1152.1.2 Obligation of the Liturgy of the Hours
  • Deacons should know the nature and structure of the Liturgy of the Hours and be able to lead it publicly.
  • Deacons are obliged to pray Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer daily. Although permanent deacons are not bound by the universal church law to say the whole of the Liturgy of the Hours every day, they should not hold themselves lightly excused from the obligation to pray Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer.
  • Deacon candidates should be introduced to and be encouraged to pray the Liturgy of the Hours since it is the official prayer of the Church and gives a firm liturgical direction to their prayer.
  • Deacons should promote this treasury of prayers to the laity, particularly through its common celebration in the local parish. Canon 276 §2, 3º
1152.1.3 Pursuit of Holiness
  • By virtue of their consecration to God in the reception of orders, clerics are especially bound to pursue holiness.
  • In order for them to pursue this perfection, they are bound to:
    • Fulfill faithfully and untiringly the duties of pastoral ministry;
    • Nourish their spiritual life from the two-fold table of Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist, therefore deacons are earnestly invited to participate daily in the Eucharist;
    • Be conscientious in devoting time regularly to prayer, in approaching the sacrament of penance frequently, and to cultivate special devotion to the Virgin Mother of God; and
    • To use other common and particular means for their sanctification. Canon 276
1152.2 Accessibility

Within reason, when away for an extended period on vacation or any other cause, every deacon should be able to be reached – that is, someone in the parish, institution, or agency where he regularly discharges his duties should know his whereabouts and how he can be expeditiously contacted in cases of special needs and/or emergencies. Normally, special contact should be limited to special/emergency needs of the parish, institution, or agency.

1152.3 Attire
  • The wearing of clerical attire aids in communicating that a permanent deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. While the wearing of clerical attire in these limited situations serves as a witness to others, it also reminds deacons of their lifelong commitment to the ministry of service.
  • The policy of the Archdiocese is for permanent deacons to wear a clerical collar and a gray clerical shirt, with a black suit as may be appropriate, on the following occasions:
    • ministering to people in correctional facilities;
    • visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and the homebound;
    • officiating at weddings;
    • attending or presiding at wake services and other funeral rites; and
    • giving an invocation or addressing a secular group as a representative of the Archdiocese or parish.
  • It may also be appropriate to wear clerical attire when participating in a clerical role on other occasions, such as archdiocesan, parish, or interfaith activities.
  • Exceptions to the guidelines may be made by a local pastor or supervisor where the circumstances are considered advisable, including whether to expand or to limit the situations when a permanent deacon should wear clerical attire in the parish or other placement.
  • In addition, a permanent deacon may choose to vest in alb and stole or other appropriate vestments rather than clerical attire at funeral rites. Clerical attire would be appropriate for other activities in connection with weddings and funeral rites as well.
1152.4 Civil Courts
  • Called as Witness in a Lawsuit: If a deacon is summoned to appear in any court as defendant or witness, he shall immediately report the fact and the circumstances to the Archbishop and the Chancellor.
  • Management of the Goods of Others: In order to preserve the reputation of the Church and the deacon, the following are to be observed by permanent deacons:
    • A deacon may manage the goods belonging to others which entail a requiring of accounts in these cases:
      • On behalf of a deacon’s family members; and/or
      • When the deacon’s secular employment requires it (attorneys, bankers, etc.).
    • A deacon >may not take on such responsibilities for parishioners except within the scope of their secular occupation, without careful consideration and consultation with the Archbishop or the Chancellor. Questions regarding the applicability of this requirement should be addressed to the Chancellor. (canons 285, 288)
  • Jury Duty: Deacons are expected to participate fully if called on to serve on jury duty.
1152.5 Health

Proper health care indicates an awareness of the essential unity between the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual well-being of a person. Just as the deacon is responsible to pursue programs of spiritual enrichment and continuing education, a deacon should develop and practice good health habits in order that he may minister effectively.

  • A Deacon’s Responsibility
    • A deacon’s responsible care of his physical, psychological, and emotional health is both an act of stewardship for a part of God’s creation and a sign to others, inviting them to join in the care of human life and all that sustains it.
    • The body is to be a temple of the Holy Spirit that glorifies God (1 Cor 6:19-20). Therefore, every deacon is encouraged to develop a personal program of health care which should include: health education, medical examinations, proper nutrition, exercise, adequate periods of rest, and the elimination of addictive habits that are known to be harmful to human health.
    • Every deacon of the Archdiocese should have a complete physical examination by the physician of his choice at age- and health-appropriate intervals.
1152.6 Intervention and Aid to Deacons in Need
  • Deacons have no special immunity from addictive disorders or from acute emotional, psychological, or spiritual distress. The Archdiocese officially recognizes alcoholism, other forms of substance abuse, severe mental illness, and personality disorders as manifestations of human illness.
  • Deacons who suffer from such illness are entitled to understanding and help.
  • The primary objectives and concerns of this policy are to relieve pain and suffering, to restore health and dignity, and to return affected deacons to productive and rewarding involvement in their ministry.
  • It is anticipated that each deacon treated will, on satisfactory completion of a treatment program, be given an official assignment compatible, insofar as possible, with his ability and needs.
  • The implementation of this policy shall be conducted in a confidential manner.
1152.6.1 Identification of Crisis Situation
  • A crisis situation exists when an individual’s behavior repeatedly interferes with the proper performance of his duties, reduces his dependability, impairs his interpersonal relations, affects his health, and/or reflects discredit on his office.
  • In the case of substance abuse, the problem is not always determined in terms of volume of usage or frequency of use but rather in terms of the substance’s effect on behavior and function.
1152.6.2 Intervention

An afflicted person is not always able to diagnose himself and volunteer for treatment.

  • Responsibility to Intervene: The responsibility for active intervention rests with the deacon’s family, associates, supervisors, and others as well as the deacon himself. The earlier a problem is recognized the more effectively it can be treated. Therefore, it is critical that associates and superiors confront the deacon while therapeutic measures are still feasible.
  • Obligation to Intervene: Should a deacon’s family member or other concerned individual be unsure of a responsibility to confront a deacon or the method that might be used to do assist the deacon, the individual should consult with vicar or delegate, the Director of Clergy Personnel, or the Director or Associate Director of Deacon Personnel.
1152.6.3 Treatment:  Effective treatment takes place in two phases:
  • Emotional, physical, and spiritual stabilization; and
  • Rehabilitation to a healthy, integrated lifestyle.
1152.6.4 Leave of Absence

Should time away from a ministry assignment be needed to facilitate treatment or recovery, appropriate arrangements will be made with the appropriate persons.

1152.6.5 Assignment
  • Every deacon is guaranteed full and equitable consideration in determining his assignment when he has satisfactorily completed treatment.
  • The Deacon Life and Ministry Board, in consultation with the Division of Clergy Personnel, will make recommendations to the Archbishop regarding the deacon’s assignment.
1152.6.6 Extended Leave of Absence
  • In addition to scheduled vacations, time away from diaconal ministry is provided as necessary (e.g., temporary change of job location, special assignments, special personal or family needs, etc). All absences from the ministry site shall be taken after consultation with the supervisor. If absences extend beyond a month, the Office of the Clergy Personnel must be notified.
1152.7 Retreat
  • All deacons are bound to make a retreat annually.
  • Retreats will be sponsored each year by the Ongoing Formation Committee of the Deacon Life and Ministry Board.
1152.8 Public Office

Deacons are prohibited from assuming public offices that entail participation in the exercise of civil power or having an active part in political parties and in governing labor unions unless they have obtained the permission of the Archbishop. (canons 285 §3, 287, 288)

1152.9 Forms of Address

The customary form of address for permanent deacons is “Deacon John Doe” or “Mr. John Doe”.

1152.10 Code of Conduct for Church Personnel

Deacons are bound by the archdiocesan Code of Conduct for Church Personnel. A copy of the code is available at

1152.11 Statement of Policy for Child and Youth Protection

Deacons are bound by the archdiocesan Statement of Policy for Child and Youth Protection, including mandatory reporting under Maryland laws. A copy of the statement is available at

1152.12 Social Media Policy for Deacons

The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more Saint Paul’s exclamation: ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel’ “ (1 Cor 9:16) – Pope Benedict XVI, May 16, 2010, 44th World Day of Communication Message.

“Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ.”
– Pope Francis, World Communications Day Message

General Guidelines

  • The Code of Conduct for Church Personnel should be adhered to at all times.
  • All who work for the Church, particularly the clergy, must remember that they are considered “public persons” who speak for the Church in almost every setting.
  • Everyone who works in and for the Church should use sound judgment and common sense when taking part in social media.
  • Social media interaction should not be viewed as a substitute for face-to-face gatherings.
  • All posts and comments should be marked by Christian charity and respect for the truth. They should be on topic and presume the good will of other posters. Discussion should take place primarily from a faith perspective. Extensive conversations via social media should be avoided.
  • Deacons should use public, official websites and email to conduct their parish/ministry business.
  • Deacons should not use their personal Facebook, Twitter, email, or other social media platforms for on-going pastoral care.

Social Media and Minors

  • While there is a difference between initiating a “friend request” and accepting one, friend/connection requests should not be initiated by deacons in regard to those under the age of 18.
    • A deacon’s personal media pages and information should be neither advertised nor accessible to young people.
    • If any deacon knowingly communicates privately with a minor as a part of his or her duties for or on behalf of the parish/ministry, steps must be taken to send the minor’s parent/guardian the same communication content, not necessarily via the same technology.
    • Any communication that might be construed as having sexual overtones is prohibited.
    • Do not reply to any such message received, especially from minors; make and keep a copy of any such inappropriate communication and notify the Office of Child and Youth Protection.
  • Anything that could cause scandal to the faithful, the Church, the Archdiocese of Baltimore or its leadership should be avoided.
    • Such may include mention of inappropriate use of alcohol, advocacy of inappropriate music/movies, inappropriate language, inappropriate dress, or the expression of opinions that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
    • This includes the posting of photographs or comments of any kind.
  • It is recommended that the “no tagging” option be set on any and all social media.
  • Social media should not be used to express partisan or political speech or opinions of any kind.
  • Deacons should be aware that their “likes” or browser history may be available to others, including the general public, so care must be taken to avoid scandal to others.
1152.13 Wills and Funeral Instructions
  • Every deacon of the Archdiocese should file a funeral instruction in accordance with the “Deacon Funeral Guidelines & Instruction Form”.
  • A copy of the deacon’s Funeral Guidelines and Instruction Form should be in the possession of the family, should also be given to the pastor/supervisor, and should be kept on file in the Division of Clergy Personnel.
  • Any changes or adjustments in the deacon’s funeral instructions may be made at any time by notifying the Office of the Diaconate.
  • The family or other designated person should also have a copy of a deacon’s will, any medical and other advance directives, and if needed, power of attorney.

See Appendix 13 for a funeral arrangements form.

(Committee review 12-11-2020; Board review 05-04-2021; Chancellor review 06-20 2021; Ad experimentum approval 11-19-2021)