Each deacon must be called by God to serve as His deacon. This divine “calling” to serve in the ministry of diaconate is called a vocation. The bishops of the United States describe the mystery of vocation in the following terms:
‘Every Christian vocation is the history of an inexpressible dialogue between God and human beings, between the love of God who calls and the freedom of individuals who respond lovingly to him.’ This calling forth from God is marked first in the reception of the sacraments of Christian initiation. From out of this body of believers Christ then calls some of his disciples, and the Church, discerning their vocational charism, asks the bishop to ordain them to a service of the whole church (NDPD, art. 165).
God calls those whom he chooses to each of the ministries of Holy Orders. It is up to each man who is called by God to recognize and respond generously to the Lord’s invitation.
The signs that are manifested in the life of a man called to the diaconate are varied. On the personal level, he must be a man with a natural inclination to serve all in need, possess good psychological health, display a capacity for dialogue, an openness and desire to share his faith, an ability to listen, dialogue and respect people of every race, religion and ethnicity and culture, a mature sense of responsibility, balanced and prudent judgment and a generous spirit.
In terms of his spiritual life, he must possess a sound faith, good Christian reputation, active involvement in ministry, personal integrity, maturity and holiness. He must be a man who regularly participates in the sacramental life of the Church and has a commitment to serve the poor and needy. If married, he must enjoy a stable and positive marriage. If single, he must display a mature celibate state of life. In either case, he must be a man capable of obedient and fraternal communion who cultivates positive friendships both in the community of faith and in the larger context of neighbor and work.