Permanent Deacons

Permanent Deacons are currently serving the Military Archdiocese in many capacities across the United States. Their service is invaluable to the AMS and the military community. If you are a permanent deacon and interested in serving the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS), or if you are interested in the diaconate, please review the frequently asked questions below. If you still have questions please feel free to contact the AMS Chancellor.

Can a deacon be a chaplain on a military base or within the Department of Veterans Affairs?

The only person who can be called a Catholic chaplain at a military installation or at a VA facility is a Catholic priest who has the faculties of the Archdiocese for the Military Services. The reason is that a Catholic chaplain is expected to be able to provide all the sacraments associated with priestly ministry. Since a deacon’s faculties do not include all of the faculties available to a priest, a deacon cannot hold the title of Chaplain.

Does the AMS incardinate deacons?

The AMS does not incardinate priests or deacons. Both are “on loan” from their diocese or religious order of incardination.

Does the AMS have a deacon training/formation program?

The AMS does not have a deacon training/formation program. To minister as a deacon within the AMS a man must already be a validly ordained deacon incardinated in a diocese or religious order. (See further requirements within this FAQ list)

Are the faculties that I have from my own diocese transferable to an installation within the jurisdiction of the AMS?

No. Faculties must be granted by the AMS.

What facilities are within the jurisdiction of the AMS?

All active duty, Reserve, National Guard, Air National Guard, Civil Air Patrol and Department of Veteran Affairs facilities located within the United States and its territories fall under the jurisdicyion of the AMS.  Also, all overseas U.S. Embassies and military installations under the command of the U.S government and/or military.

I am a permanent deacon and I do not have AMS faculties. I have been asked by a friend/family member who is in the military to witness a wedding/perform a baptism at their base. How do I obtain permission to do so?

To administer any of the sacraments as a guest cleric on any facility within the jurisdiction of the AMS, you should request a “Letter of Good Standing” from your diocese or religious order. The letter should be sent to the AMS Judicial Vicar at the Tribunal office.  Proper delegation in writing is also required.  Delegation is granted by the senior priest at the installation. If there is no priest, delegation can be granted by the AMS Judicial Vicar at the Tribunal office.  Delegation must be granted prior to administering the sacrament.

How does a deacon obtain faculties to minister within the AMS?

To obtain diaconal faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, a deacon must submit an application, which can be found at this website, to the AMS Chancellor . Additional documents include a photograph of the applicant, a letter of permission from deacon’s Ordinary, a Dallas Charter statement from the same Ordinary and proof that he has attended Child Protection training. In addition, the deacon must submit a letter of recommendation from the senior Catholic priest at the installation where the deacon wishes to minister. To obtain AMS deacon faculties a deacon must be supervised by a uniformed or contract chaplain that also has AMS faculties. Deacon faculties do not automatically include the faculty to preach.  This faculty must be requested by the priest supervisor.

Is there a time limit on deacon faculties? Are deacon faculties valid at any military installation or Department of Veterans Affairs’ facility?

Deacon faculties must be renewed every two years and must be requested by the current priest supervisor.  If the priest leaves the installation and there is no priest assigned as a replacement, the deacon’s faculties expire automatically. The deacon faculties are installation specific and are not transferable to another location.

Do deacon faculties include the faculty to conduct a communion service?

Deacon faculties do not include the permission to conduct communion services. Communion services are expressly forbidden within the jurisdiction of the AMS.

Does the AMS keep a list of installations requesting a deacon?

The AMS does not keep a list of facilities requesting a permanent deacon. If a deacon is interested in ministry at a military or VA facility, the deacon should contact the priest at the installation and offer his services. If there is a need and the priest approves, an application for faculties should be submitted to the AMS Chancellor.

Do deacons get compensated for their service?

Generally deacons do not get any financial compensation for their service at a military installation.  Some deacons are hired as the installation Catholic coordinator, either as a contractor or in a GS position.  In these cases they may be receiving compensation.