Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Séamus Cunningham

Permanent diaconate:

Is God calling you to be a Deacon in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle?

(this information is provided by the Permanent Diaconate Formation Team )

Although we are all called to serve each other and to a life of holiness, all men will not be suitable to commence the four years of formation leading to ordination as a deacon. The following information may help you decide if you have the necessary attitude and background to think seriously about this vocation. 

We would be looking for someone who has a proven track record of service in the Church. This service might include parish service such as being a reader or special minister, being involved in SVP work or other charitable activities - generally somebody with some breadth of involvement in the parish community. Your experience may be outside the parish such as chaplaincy work, Apostleship of the Sea, teaching or hospital work.  We would be looking for evidence of your ability to work with others and relate to others generally in a variety of situations. Your work experience may have given you a wider perspective on the world of work and be evidence of your openness in relationships. 

There are no specific academic qualifications required but we would expect you to have some academic or intellectual interest. We would expect you to have some evidence of recent study at whatever level.  We do encourage possible applicants without recent academic experience to look towards refresher courses available at local colleges. 

Spirituality should be an important factor in your life and we would expect you to have a disciplined prayer life and an interest in things of the Spirit. Involvement in the sacramental life of the Church is essential and we would look for evidence of that and an affinity with the liturgical life of your parish community.

Finally we would hope that you have an on-going relationship with either your own pastor or another priest who is giving you guidance and support. At the very least the pastor of the parish in which you worship should know you and support your application.

If you are accepted and start training you will become part of the Diaconal Formation Community made up of candidates and a team of priests and deacons. The academic formation is mainly provided by Ushaw College in a series of six modules per academic year. The Formation Community meets  at least twice a term at the Holy Name Parish in Jesmond on Sunday afternoons and on some Monday evenings.
The modules studied at Ushaw consist of one weekend module per term and one on-line module per term. You will also complete a liturgical course with Fr. Adrian Dixon and a Canon Law course with Fr. Michael McCoy.

The formation of a deacon is essentially self-formation, and the aim of the preparation time is to help you discover and build on your sense of vocation and discern the areas of ministry you are most called to and gifted for. Formation is a process not a program and therefore involves a deepening commitment to the mission of the Church.

If you are interested in the Permanent Diaconate you should talk to your pastor and then contact Fr Sean Hall
The process of application involves a comprehensive application form which requests all the information usually provided in a C.V. It also asks you for personal references and professional references, where appropriate. Your pastor and dean will be contacted by the Director of Formation. 

Psychological assessments are carried out by the St. Luke’s Centre in Manchester and are mandatory for all applicants, whether for the Diaconate or the Priesthood. These assessments are confidential to you, the Bishop and the Director of Formation. On receipt of satisfactory references and assessment you will be asked to attend a diocesan interview. This panel will advise the Bishop whether you should be accepted, delayed or refused. The Bishop will interview you and make a final decision as to whether you should be accepted for formation.  In the following years you will be assessed at the end of each year, and with the Bishop’s approval continue in formation.