story - inviting

Are you being called to serve as a permanent deacon?

Learn more about the ministry and the process for application occurring this winter/spring for the five-year session beginning in the Diocese of Erie January 2025. The deadline for applying is September 2024.

The Diocese of Erie is preparing to welcome a new class of men interested in discerning whether or not they are being called to serve as a permanent deacon.

The process begins with Deacon Tom McAraw, director of the Permanent Diaconate Program, along with Deacon Richard Shewman and Deacon Ray Sobina who direct the Deacon Formation Program.

Once formal applications are submitted, interviews will be held by a selection team and a deacon formation class will be proposed to the bishop for his approval. The hope is to welcome up to ten candidates from a range of areas within the 13-county Diocese of Erie.

We invite you to read through the basic information available on this site and then to call Deacon Tom McAraw, director of the Permanent Diaconate Program for the Diocese of Erie, if you would like more information.

You are in our prayers!


What are the prerequisites to be considered for applying to become a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Erie?

A man must be at least 30 years old and no older than 62 when the five-year program begins. He must hold an undergraduate degree. Each candidate will simultaneously earn a master’s degree in pastoral administration from Gannon University as he studies for the permanent diaconate.

What is the process for exploring the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Erie?

Informational sessions will be scheduled online, and, depending on interest, in person.

What is the first step?

Please contact Deacon Tom McAraw, director of the Permanent Diaconate Program, at or at 814.824.1148, for a preliminary conversation.

More resources

Looking for more information about the permanent diaconate in general? Here are some documents of interest from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.