The deacon is ordained specifically for the ministry of proclamation and instruction, of sanctification in the sacramental life of the Church, and of charity and assistance. Programs that prepare deacons within the context of other ministry preparation programs sometimes lose a sense of the particular ministerial identity of the permanent deacon.

Saint Meinrad's program is designed to appreciate and foster the charism of the diaconate and its unique ministry, integrating it into every activity of the formation period. 


Our Permanent Deacon Formation Program engages candidates in the study of theology to prepare them for the ministry of the permanent deacon and for personal growth and development.

The four-year curriculum is balanced and integrated. Each course complements the others in content and purpose. And while the curriculum is carefully designed, there is possibility for some flexibility of courses and schedule of classes to meet the particular needs of each diocese.

All courses are taught by qualified instructors. Interaction between instructors and candidates ensures that the candidates are fully engaged in their theological education. 

Although classes are taught at the graduate level, the Saint Meinrad program is, first and foremost, a formation program, and no degree is awarded upon its completion.

A degree-granting program risks placing qualifications and restrictions on the admission of candidates, which might be incompatible with the needs and priorities of the dioceses. A degree program also would make demands of candidates that could take away from their attention to discerning a vocation while continuing to meet the commitments of work and family.

However, qualified deacons who have completed the Saint Meinrad Permanent Deacon Formation Program may apply to receive some course waivers and advanced standing toward a Saint Meinrad master's degree. For more information, contact the Director of Admissions or learn more here.

Courses are taught in both English and Spanish.


Nurturing prayer and holiness is the foundation of all Christian learning and ministry. The spiritual formation component of the permanent deacon formation seeks to foster integration of the candidate’s awareness of his discipleship within an evolving understanding of the theological disciplines.

Spiritual formation is supported through an emphasis on the importance of daily Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, retreats, spiritual direction and participation in theological reflection groups.

Quality formation in the skills necessary for ministry has been a hallmark of Saint Meinrad’s formation programs from the beginning. Skills in preaching, liturgical presiding, parish and diocesan administration and leadership, religious education and pastoral care form the baseline of areas of expertise for permanent deacons. 

Because of the centrality of the ministry of the Word to the deacon’s work, a seven-day homiletics workshop at Saint Meinrad is included as part of the formation program.