The selection of diaconate candidates for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles follows the guidelines presented by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. An essential principle indicated by the NCCB is that the diaconate is a ministry, a way of serving the Church, and never an honor or personal reward. The call to the diaconate is both a call from God to serve, and a call from the community of faith which is to be served. This call does not come to the individual alone, nor for his own sake. It is not a right but rather a call affirmed and recognized by his community of faith. Anyone who hears such a call must have the gift validated by the Church.
It is evident that more particular criteria will vary in accordance with the specific needs of the local diocesan Church and the general lines of its pastoral program. Hence, in assessing prospective diaconate candidates, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles selection process takes into consideration a variety of realities faced by the local church: ethnic diversity, the need to revitalize parishes, the homeless situation, other concerns of the poor and marginated, and much more.
The selection of diaconate applicants for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles complies with the document of the Congregation for Catholic Education Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons, as well as the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. The National Directory describes some of the qualities that a man should have to apply for the diaconate. They include: natural inclination of service to the Christian community, and to all in need; ability to share one’s faith; generosity in service; sound faith; good Christian reputation; personal integrity, maturity, and holiness; regular participation in the Church’s sacramental life; a positive and stable marriage, if married, or a mature celibate state of life, if single, and a deep spirituality and prayer life.