Program Overview

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Program Overview

Formation is a life-long period of accompaniment. The Diaconate Formation Program supports the vocation and ministry of the deacon, beginning at the earliest stage of discernment through his journey to ordination and beyond. Our program is structured around the four pillars of human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral dimensions of formation as defined in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States.

Formation Criteria

Diaconal formation is a lifelong process by which a person is molded into the image of Jesus the servant. It involves not only academic studies, but also one’s prayer life, values, daily witness, self-understanding and ministry. It's up to each individual who is called by God, to recognize and respond generously to the Lord’s invitation.

Church Initiation

All men applying to enter diaconate formation must be fully initiated members of the Catholic Church (baptized, confirmed and have received Holy Communion). In addition, all men who have received full initiation into the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA ), must wait at least five years before applying for the diaconate.


Applicants must be between 35 and 60 years old.


All married inquirers should be part of a stable and loving Catholic marriage for no less than five years before applying. (Any potential applicants who may be experiencing serious difficulties in their marriage should postpone applying for the diaconate until those issues are completely resolved.) Their marriage must also be canonically valid and a Catholic certificate must be made available. All married inquirers must also obtain written consent from their wives before being admitted into Aspirancy.

Single Men

All single men who seek entry into diaconal formation must remain celibate throughout their formation process, and for the rest of their lives. No exemption is granted for this rule; therefore, all single men must have a clear understanding of the celibate life they are call to live.

Financial Stability

All inquirers should have sufficient financial and employment stability throughout the entire formation process. The applicant may be asked to submit proof of stable employment. If a potential applicant is experiencing some form of hardship or lack of employment during the time of his admission process, he will be asked to postpone his application request to resolve his situation before being considered for admissions into the program.

National Status

All inquirers must be American citizens, permanent residents or possess an appropriate visa that allows them to be legally present in the United States. All Inquirers must also have a valid social security number before applying for Aspirancy. All diaconal aspirants/candidates must have legal status in the United States before admissions into diaconate formation. Further, the diocese will not sponsor any potential candidates for immigration status.

Pastor Recommendation

All Inquirers must receive the written recommendation of their pastor before beginning the admission process into Aspirancy.

Parochial Involvement

All Inquirers must have a substantial record of parochial service before entering Aspirancy. This is defined as active involvement in the parochial life and ministries of his parish for a minimum of three years.

Educational Background

All Inquirers must be high school graduates or have earned an equivalent, either in the United States or their native country. Some college background is also preferred. Proof of High School completion, college studies, degrees or transcripts obtained either in United States or abroad must be submitted with their application.

Continuing The Journey

As discernment progresses, the "call" to the diaconate is confirmed when the candidate realizes that his heart and mind come together not only within himself, but also between him, the formation program, and the Church. The basic academic portion of our program will be fulfilled at St. Joseph Seminary - Dunwoodie. This allows our men to pursue a Master's Degree which is strongly encouraged. Monthly theological courses are taken within the Diocese of Bridgeport, generally on weekends. These weekends will serve to foster increased spiritual growth and discernment, and provide additional support.

Deacon Jerry Lambert

Meet Deacon John DiTaranto

Director of the Diaconate
Deacon John was born in the Bronx, NY. After graduating from Manhattan College with a Degree in Engineering, he spent most of his career working with General Electric in a number of different leadership roles in a variety of GE businesses, coming to Connecticut after spending 2+ years in Florence, Italy integrating a newly acquired business into GE. Deacon John was ordained in 2008 and has since left GE and became an independent Leadership Consultant supporting both GE and the Catholic Leadership Institute. He has served as the Assistant to the Director of Safe Environment, Special Assistant to Bishop Caggiano, Chaplain of Notre Dame High School, Assistant Director of the Institute for Catholic Formation and is currently the Director of the Diaconate. He was initially assigned as deacon at St. Jude Parish in Monroe and is now assigned to St. Stephen Parish in Trumbull. He and his wife Maureen have been married for 29 years, live in Shelton and have four adult children.