The Division of Clergy Personnel


1157.0 Definitions:


  • A deacon who was called to orders for service in the Archdiocese of Baltimore by the Archbishop of Baltimore; or
  • A deacon who when ordained was not called to orders by the Archbishop of Baltimore but during his ministry chooses to become a deacon of the Archdiocese through the transfer of incardination process established by canon law and these policies.


  • A deacon of the Archdiocese who after proper discernment and observance of canon law and these policies is incardinated into another diocese from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

1157.1 Letters of Commendation or Complaint About Deacons of the Archdiocese

1157.1.1 Letters of Commendation

  • Process: On receiving a letter commending a deacon for his good service or outstanding performance, the letter will be acknowledged, and a copy of the letter will be forwarded to the deacon himself.
  • Rationale: Since good performance is seldom acknowledged, any form of recognition should be communicated as a matter of policy.
  • Retention: Any letter of commendation is to be kept in the personnel file of the individual deacon.

1157.1.2    Letter of Complaint


  • Complaint: The complainant will be informed that the matter will be brought to the attention of the deacon in question; and that the Office of the Diaconate will reveal the identity of the complainant as part of that discussion.
    • Employee Complaints: If the complainant is employee of the parish where the deacon is assigned, the Office of Human Resources will be contacted to assist with the next steps in the process.
    • Anonymous Letters: It is up to the Director of Deacon Personnel to determine whether an anonymous letter is shared with a deacon.
    • Goal of Sharing Complaints: It is the goal of this process to provide transparency for any difficulties or concerns for the deacon and the person making the complaint.
  • Record of Actions: A full record is to be retained in the files of the deacon regarding the actions taken for any complaint.

1157.2 Ministry of Externs/Deacons Incardinated in Other Dioceses

  • This policy pertains to deacons who are not incardinated in the Archdiocese of Baltimore but who are engaged in some useful form of ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore either at a parish, at an institution, or in some other activity formally sponsored by the Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
  • It relates both to those who are not seeking incardination as well as those who are seeking incardination.
  • When a deacon incardinated in another diocese accepts some ministerial assignment sponsored by, or within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archbishop, through the Director of Deacon Personnel, is to be notified with the following information: name, age, diocese of incardination, position to which assigned, and probable length of assignment.
  • The notification must indicate the reasons for the deacon’s desire to work outside his own diocese, his qualifications, and a specified length of time for work within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, for the position to which assigned. It must also include a copy of an official letter, such as a Letter of Suitability, from the Diocesan Bishop of the deacon’s diocese giving permission to seek a ministerial assignment in another diocese.
  • It is the prerogative of the Archbishop of Baltimore to determine whether a deacon from another diocese or religious order is to be authorized to provide ministry with the Archdiocese so permission to minister locally is required before the deacon is permitted to minister locally – this permission is not automatic.
  • The Division of Clergy Personnel will implement the review of any assignment request and the faculty granting process. Any additional screening will be determined by the Division of Clergy Personnel (e.g., fingerprinting, etc.).

1157.2.1 Deacons Not Seeking Incardination


  • Prior to beginning ministry, a deacon entering the Archdiocese of Baltimore for ministry as a deacon must be eligible to receive habitual faculties under the normal process (, including:
    • A criminal background check;
    • Suitability review; and
    • Child and Youth Protection Education.
  • The Division of Clergy Personnel will oversee this process.
  • The deacon may not celebrate the sacraments or perform a ministerial function within the Archdiocese of Baltimore until faculties are properly granted.

1157.2.2 Deacons Seeking Incardination (canons 268-272)

In General

Incardination of a deacon into the Archdiocese of Baltimore is entirely at the discretion of the Archbishop.

A deacon seeking incardination must also comply with the requirements to obtain habitual faculties under Section 7.2.1.

Period of Service Within the Archdiocese of Baltimore


  • After 1 year of service in the Archdiocese of Baltimore the deacon may apply for consideration of incardination, if he wishes. The deacon should discuss his desires with the Director of Deacon Personnel before proceeding in any way.
    • The Director of Deacon Personnel will discuss the matter with the Chancellor and the Director of Clergy Personnel to determine the proper canonical process for the individual deacon.
    • The deacon must seek written permission to seek incardination from his own bishop.
    • The deacon must also obtain the written permission of the Archbishop of Baltimore to begin the incardination process.
    • Only if both diocesan bishops consent to this process in writing is the deacon eligible to enter the incardination process ad experimentum, in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
    • Acceptance into the process of incardination may NEVER be presumed.
  • Copy of Complete Personnel File from All other Dioceses
    • The Division of Clergy Personnel will obtain the following items as soon as possible when the initial request for consideration of incardination is granted to being the process ad experimentum:
      • A complete personnel file for the deacon applicant from the original diocese of incardination;
      • A copy of any personnel file from any other diocese where the deacon was granted habitual faculties; and
      • A full medical history.
  • Time of Experiment: The first year of ministry for the deacon will be counted toward the term of the 3-year requirement, but a final recommendation on his application will not be made until at least a total of 3 years has been served.
  • Review of Formal Letter of Application: A deacon seeking incardination shall have lived and/or worked full-time in the Archdiocese for a minimum of 3 years before his application will be given official review.
    • A minimum of 1 year must elapse between the submission of the formal letter of application and the official review.
    • The formal letter of application for incardination should address at least the following elements:
      • Why the deacon feels he is called to minister in the Archdiocese of Baltimore;
      • What the deacon aspires to do within the Archdiocese of Baltimore if his request for incardination is granted; and
      • Any other information the deacon believes would be helpful in consideration of this request.
  • Evaluations: In all instances, evaluations will be completed and response on approval/acceptance or rejection will be given within 5 years after the commencement of the deacon’s residence and/or service in the Archdiocese in accordance with canon law.

Observations Regarding Letters of Application

  • The Deacon Life and Ministry Board will conduct the necessary review of letters of application for incardination and provide observations to the Archbishop.
  • Timing – These observations should be prepared early in the incardination consideration period to introduce the candidate to the Diaconate through the members of the Deacon Life and Ministry Board.
  • Local Review:
    • All relevant information from all pastors and supervisors under whom the applicant has served within the Archdiocese, and if advisable, from peers, colleagues, and lay contacts; and
    • An Interview with the candidate is required.
  • Based on its findings, the Board will provide observations to the Archbishop to assist him in making a final decision regarding the request for incardination into the Diaconate.

Observations Regarding Age

  • No arbitrary age requirements will be applied.
  • However, age will be considered along with any health or personality factors that might be obstacles to satisfactory and productive service in the Archdiocese.

1157.2.3 Deacons Seeking Excardination:

  • Any Archdiocesan deacon may ask to be excardinated into another diocese, following the guidelines of the receiving diocese.
  • The Archbishop of Baltimore has the final authority regarding the granting of these requests.

1157.3 Faculties for Deacons

ALL DEACONS MUST HAVE FACULTIES before being permitted to assist at Mass, celebrate any other sacrament, or do any other type of public ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

  • Types of Faculties: There are two types of faculties for deacons who minister within the Archdiocese of Baltimore:
    • Permanent (Habitual Faculties): These are for those deacons who reside and minister within the territory of the Archdiocese of Baltimore or who minister frequently within its territory and expire when the deacon leaves the Archdiocese; and
    • Event Faculties: These are for those deacons who come for a single event or for several events within a short period of time.
  • Office of the Diaconate: The deacon should contact the Office of the Diaconate to facilitate the process or see more information from the Archdiocesan website. (
  • Parishes and Other Institutions: All Catholic parishes and institutions MUST be certain a deacon has received the required faculties of the Archdiocese of Baltimore prior to allowing that deacon to do any type of ministry.
  • The parish or institution should contact the Division of Clergy Personnel to ascertain whether faculties have been granted.
  • Faculties generally granted to deacons ordained for service in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are listed in Appendix 10.

Letters of Suitability

  • Letters of Suitability will be issued through the Division of Clergy Personnel ONLY for deacons incardinated within the Archdiocese of Baltimore;
  • Diocesan Clergy may request a letter of suitability prior to travel to another diocese; and
  • Other deacons resident in this territory should seek a letter of suitability from their appropriate diocesan or religious superior.

1157.4 Employment of Laicized Deacons Within the Archdiocese

  • The term “laicization” refers to a dispensation from all the obligations of Holy Orders, including celibacy. The actual language in the decree of laicization from the Holy See will determine some eligibility for employment of the laicized deacon in a Church setting.

1157.4.1 The Deacon Who Has Been Laicized

  • Archbishop’s Approval: A deacon who has been laicized is eligible for employment in positions in the Archdiocese for which he is qualified if the employing institution receives the approval of the Archbishop of Baltimore in relation to the specific position.
    • Marriage After Laicization: In determining whether to give approval in a situation where the individual entered into marriage after laicization, consideration will be given to possible scandal to the community. This is particularly of concern when the deacon ministered in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and has decided to continue to reside in that territory.
    • Eligible Positions: A laicized deacon could be considered for a position in administration, teaching, or counseling at a high school or college; or in administrative or management types of work in various Archdiocesan institutions.
    • A laicized deacon may not discharge any function in seminaries or may not teach in graduate schools of theology.
    • Other restrictions may apply depending on the type of rescript issued (rescripts involving Child and Youth offenses may have more restrictions).

1157.4.2 Deacons Who May Have Attempted Marriage Without Laicization

  • Ineligible for Employment: An individual who may be in this category is to be considered as ineligible for employment in a position involving teaching, counseling, guidance, or administrative work in any Catholic schools or Church-related institutions.
  • The prior approval of the Archbishop must be secured prior to the employment of an individual in this category.

1157.4.3 Deacon on Leave of Absence

  • Discernment Leave: A deacon who is on a leave of absence in order to discern whether or not he wishes to remain in diaconal ministry is not permitted to be employed by any Church agency or institution. During this discernment period, employment in a secular setting may assist the deacon in the process of discerning his vocation.
  • Permanent Leave of Absence: A deacon who is on permanent leave of absence and has decided for all intents and purposes not to return to active diaconal ministry, is not permitted to be employed by the Church and may not receive an endorsement as a chaplain or other professional until his decree of laicization has been issued by the Holy See.

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