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May 2021A Portrait of thePermanent Diaconate:2020-2021

Center for Applied Research in the ApostolateGeorgetown UniversityWashington, DCA Portrait of the Permanent Diaconate:A Study for theU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops2020-2021May 2021Michal J. Kramarek, Ph.D.Thomas P. Gaunt, SJ, Ph.D.

A Portrait of the Permanent Diaconate:A Study for theU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops2020-2021Table of ContentsExecutive Summary . 1Major Findings . 1Introduction . 4Number of Permanent Deacons. 5Interpolation of Missing Data . 7Active Permanent Deacons . 7Total Permanent Deacons . 7Ministry Status of Deacons . 8Incardination Status of Deacons in Active Ministry . 9Marital Status of Active Deacons . 10Age of Active Deacons . 11Race and Ethnicity of Active Deacons . 12Highest Level of Education of Active Deacons. 13Changes in the Diaconate during the 2019 Calendar Year . 14Ministry and Compensation . 15Post-Ordination Formation . 17Retreats . 18Directors of the Diaconate . 19Policies of the Offices of the Diaconate . 20Appendix: Questionnaire and Response Frequencies for 2019-2020 . 22

A Portrait of the Permanent Diaconate:A Study for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops2020-2021Executive SummaryThis report presents findings from a national survey of the Office of the PermanentDiaconate in arch/dioceses and arch/eparchies in the United States. The study was commissionedby the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops. The survey of Offices of the Permanent Diaconate has been conducted by CARA for theU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops since 2005.1 The original questionnaire was designed incollaboration with the Executive Director of the USCCB Secretariat for the Diaconate.To obtain the names and contact information for the directors of these offices, CARAcontacted the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD) for a list of current directors ofthe Office of Deacon in U.S. dioceses and eparchies. CARA also contacted the directors of alldiaconate formation programs in its Catholic Ministry Formation database to request theircooperation in completing the survey. As in previous years, diocesan directors had the option ofcompleting the survey either online or on paper.CARA conducted the survey between February and May 2021. To improve the responserate, NADD sent out emails encouraging participation in the survey and USCCB conducted phonefollow ups. At the completion of data collection, CARA received responses from 145 of the 187arch/dioceses and arch/eparchies whose bishops and eparches belong to the USCCB and who havean active Office of Deacons, for a 77% overall responses rate.2 The response rate is higher amongarch/dioceses (81%, or 144 of 177 possible responses) than among arch/eparchies (9%, or one of11 possible responses).Major FindingsNumber of Deacons Responding archdioceses with the largest number of permanent deacons include Chicago(852), Los Angeles (426), and Galveston-Houston (367). Adjusting for Catholic populationsize, Latin rite dioceses with the lowest ratio of Catholics per permanent deacon includeThe survey was originally commissioned by the USCCB Secretariat for the Diaconate, which became the Secretariat ofClergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. It has been conducted annually since 2005-2006, with the exception of 20102011 and 2017-2018.2 The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA has no clergy personnel except those on assignment from otherdioceses and eparchies, so it is excluded from this report and analysis. Five eparchies, Armenian Catholic Eparchy ofOur Lady of Nareg, Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese, St. Mary Queen of Peace Syro-MalankaraCatholic Eparchy, St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Eparchy, and St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese ofChicago have no permanent deacons in the United States and therefore are excluded from this report and analysis.11

Lexington (508 Catholics to every deacon), Rapid City (640), Bismarck (676), and JeffersonCity (703). The 144 Latin Rite arch/dioceses that responded to this question report a total of 15,873permanent deacons (both active and not active). The single eparchy, that responded,reported a total of 11 permanent deacons. Extrapolating to include arch/dioceses andarch/eparchies that did not respond to the survey, it can be estimated that there are as manyas 19,008 permanent deacons in the United States today. Latin Rite arch/dioceses reported having 12,292 permanent deacons active in ministry. Thesingle eparchy reported 11 active permanent deacons. Extrapolating to include dioceses andeparchies that did not respond to the survey, it can be estimated that there are 14,722deacons active in ministry in the United States today, or about 78% of all permanentdeacons. During the 2020 calendar year, 587 new permanent deacons were ordained in respondingarch/dioceses. At the same time, 410 deacons retired from active ministry and another 378deacons died. As is the case with priests in the United States, there are not enough newpermanent deacons being ordained to make up for the numbers who are retiring from activeministry and dying each year.Demographic Characteristics of Active Deacons Nine in ten (93%) active permanent deacons are currently married. Four percent arewidowers and 2% have never been married. Ninety-five percent of active permanent deacons are at least 50 years old. About a fifth(21%) are in their 50s, two-fifths (40%) are in their 60s, and two-fifths (35%) are 70 or older. Seven in ten of active permanent deacons (72%) are non-Hispanic whites. One in five activepermanent deacons (21%) are Hispanic or Latino, 4% are Asian or Pacific Islander, and 3%are African American. Seven in ten active permanent deacons (67%) have at least a college degree. One in five(20%) has a graduate degree in a field related to religion or ministry.Compensation and Formation Among permanent deacons who are financially compensated for ministry, a quarter (26%) isserving in a “parish ministerial position” other than pastoral care of parish(es) (Canon517.2), so they are serving in ministerial positions such as Director of Religious Education orYouth Minister. Additionally, one in six (16%) works in parish non-ministerial positions(e.g., administration, business, finance) and fewer than one in ten (8%) are entrusted with thepastoral care of one or more parishes (Canon 517§2).2

Nine in ten responding arch/dioceses (87%) require post-ordination formation ofpermanent deacons. These arch/dioceses require a median of 22 hours of post-ordinationformation annually. Virtually all arch/dioceses (98%) require an annual retreat of deacons and 90% provide otherannual gatherings for deacons. Nine in ten responding arch/dioceses (94%) have a Director of the Diaconate (or a personwith a similar title). In two in five of these arch/dioceses (42%), the position is full-time. In terms of formal policies, four in five arch/dioceses (80%) have a plan for the placementand ministry of deacons. Nine in ten (93%) have an active ministry formation program forthe permanent diaconate and, among those with no such program in place, eight in ten(78%) are planning to begin a program in the next two years. Nine in ten responding arch/dioceses (94%) have a minimum age of acceptance intopermanent diaconate (which, on average, is 33 years old). Three in five (58%) have amandatory age for permanent deacon’s retirement (which, on average, is 75 years old).3

Center for Applied Research in the ApostolateGeorgetown UniversityWashington, DCA Portrait of the Permanent Diaconate:2020-2021IntroductionIn spring 2005, the Secretariat for the Diaconate3 of the United States Conference ofCatholic Bishops (USCCB) first commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate(CARA) at Georgetown University to conduct an annual survey of Offices of the PermanentDiaconate. CARA conducted the survey each year since then, except for 2010-2011 and 2017-2018.This report presents findings from this latest national survey of the Office of the PermanentDiaconate in dioceses and eparchies in the United States and incorporates trend data from previousyears’ reports. The original questionnaire was designed in collaboration with the Executive Directorof the USCCB Secretariat for the Diaconate and the questionnaires used in subsequent years arenearly identical.4 The 2020-2021 questionnaire is presented in the Appendix.To obtain the names and contact information for the directors of these offices, CARAcontacted the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD) for a list of current directors ofthe Office of Deacon in U.S. dioceses and eparchies. CARA also contacted the directors of alldiaconate formation programs in its Catholic Ministry Formation database to request theircooperation in completing the survey. As in previous years, diocesan directors had the option ofcompleting the survey either online or on paper. In addition to follow-up conducted by CARA,NADD sent out emails and USCCB made phone calls encouraging participation in the survey.The final sample includes data from 144 of the 188 arch/dioceses and arch/eparchies whosebishops and eparches belong to the USCCB and who have an active Office of Deacons, for a 77%overall responses rate.5 The response rate is higher among arch/dioceses (81%, or 144 of 177possible responses) than among arch/eparchies (9% or one of 11 possible responses).This office is now known as the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.The 2005-2006 survey asked for the number of active deacons with Masters’ degrees or doctorates. The surveys insubsequent years asked for the number of active deacons with a “graduate degree in religious studies, theology, CanonLaw, etc.” and the number with a “graduate degree in a field not related to the Diaconate.” There are also somedifferences in the subsequent surveys in the way in which marital status is asked.5 The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA has no clergy personnel except those on assignment from otherdioceses and eparchies, so it is excluded from this report and analysis. Five eparchies, Armenian Catholic Eparchy ofOur Lady of Nareg, Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese, St. Mary Queen of Peace Syro-MalankaraCatholic Eparchy, St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Eparchy, and St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese ofChicago have no permanent deacons in the United States and therefore are excluded from this report and analysis.344

Number of Permanent DeaconsThe Archdiocese of Chicago has the largest total number of permanent deacons amongresponding arch/dioceses, with 852 deacons in all, including active and retired. The table below listsresponding arch/dioceses that report at least 200 permanent deacons.6Responding Arch/dioceses with the Greatest Numberof Permanent DeaconsArch/dioceseTotal Number of Catholics perDeaconsDeacon##Chicago8522,558Los Angeles4269,482Galveston-Houston3674,632San Antonio3643,342New York3059,204Atlanta2993,946St. Louis2971,701Rockville lando2451,601Phoenix2444,483Trenton2403,054Joliet in nati2172,038New Orleans2172,387Brooklyn2176,068Denver2092,890 The 144 Latin rite arch/dioceses that responded to these survey questions reported a total of15,873 permanent deacons. The single Eastern rite eparchies that responded to the surveyreported a total of 11 permanent deacons.7The total number of deacons is calculated as the sum of all deacons active in ministry and all deacons no longer activein ministry, except those who have been laicized (question 1 question 6 question 7 question 8 – question 12).7 Eparchies are reported separately here because of possible double-counting of Eastern rite deacons listed by Latin ritedioceses as serving within their boundaries.65

On average, responding arch/dioceses and arch/eparchies reported 86 deacons