Parish priests must look to the future and be alert for good men of faith in our parishes who would be able and generous enough to respond to a diaconal vocation. We need to pray for such vocations and then actively seek out potential candidates.
Any good catholic man from thirty onwards who is capable of carrying out his family duties, holding down his job and, in addition, is capable of giving the time necessary to enter into the diaconal formation programme is potentially a suitable candidate. An inability to offer much time in the short term to church work (e.g., because of family and work commitments) need not be a deterrent to choosing men who can give some time and otherwise seem well suited to diaconal ministry. Sowing the seeds of a vocation is important, for when work and family commitments have diminished, the seed sown some years back may begin to flourish. Often the best candidates are those who first considered the possibility of a diaconal vocation because the priest or some other member of the parish community suggested it to them.

The candidate must be intelligent enough to follow a normal course of studies without being unduly weighed down by it, healthy enough to carry out the duties of a deacon, with the sort of generosity of character that is still open to being formed, and with a soundness and stability of character that invites trust.

He must have the right intention – to model himself on Christ the Servant who came not to be served but to serve.

He must be accepting of the call of the Church – that he be willing to put himself in the hands of the bishop and those the bishop has chosen to carry out the discernment and formation process. No-one can claim the right to be ordained. His desire to be ordained is never sufficient in itself, rather he must wait on the decision of the Church.

It normally takes a minimum of one year from the time the Director for the Permanent Diaconate is given a candidate’s name to the time that person is presented to the diocesan interview board. If he is perceived as having a possible vocation and accepted for the Diaconate Formation Programme, it will normally take another four years before he is ordained as a deacon.

More Reading
Handbook for priests and Deacons
Becoming a Deacon.pdf
Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons