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Diaconal Formation
Special Program

Diaconal Formation

Since the restoration of the permanent diaconate to the hierarchy of sacred orders by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), growth in the diaconate has surged in the United States and worldwide. In 2010, the Center was established to focus on the increasing intellectual formation needs of the permanent diaconate, by providing Christ-centered academic programs to prepare students to be heralds of the Gospel and servants and leaders of the New Evangelization.

Our unique and innovative Center addresses the intellectual norms set forth in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, preparing men for leadership roles as ordained ministers in their local parishes, diocese institutions and the Universal Church. Students acquire the knowledge and skills to carry out the deacon's ministry of word, liturgy and charity.


  • 90% Student Growth 2011-15
  • 65% Faculty Involvement
  • 39% Students With Graduate Degree
  • 3 Number of Dioceses Served
Theology Certificate Steps

Called to Serve

Infusing Catholic mission and Gospel values into our society.

Peter Barcellona

"Each class I've taken draws me deeper into the knowledge of my faith. It has given me a more profound understanding of our Catholic faith and has taught me to use the knowledge I've gained to continue working in social justice and other ministries."

Peter Barcellona '15
Deacon, Senior Public Health Investigator, and a 2015 Recipient of the Student Service Leadership Award - Watch His Video »


The graduate-level courses in this program are offered through Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and taught by Seminary faculty. Upon successful completion of the program, students earn an M.A. in Theology with a concentration in Systematics and/or a Certificate in Diaconal Studies.

Our program focuses on the intellectual formation norms outlined in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, including:

Sacred Scripture
Theology of God
Christian Anthropology

Moral Theology
Canon Law


The following is a selection of faculty of the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology (ICSST). Click to read more about all of our ICSST faculty »

Eric Johnston
Associate Professor of Undergraduate Theology
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Reverend John Cryan
Rev. John Cryan
Retired, Director of Pastoral Formation
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Ellen Scully
Ellen Scully
Associate Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Theology
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Stay Connected. Grow in Your Faith with Us.

In addition to graduate-level academic programs, we collaborate with Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and the Institute for Christian Spirituality to offer workshops, lectures and presentations for diaconal candidates, deacons and their wives that focus on Christian spirituality, new evangelization and parish services. Join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on all of our upcoming events, news and course offerings.

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Contact Us

Deacon Andrew E. Saunders, M.A.
(973) 313-6335
Gregory Floyd, M.A.
Assistant Director
(973) 275-2435
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