Sept. 14 marks 50th anniversary of the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program in the Diocese of Saginaw

Photo: Deacon Jubilee Mass October 2021

SAGINAW — Fifty years ago on Sept. 14, 1972,  Bishop Francis F. Reh, the third Bishop of Saginaw, established the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program in the Diocese of Saginaw – a decision that has brought many blessings to the people of the diocese. In total, fifty men have served as permanent deacons in the Diocese of Saginaw since Bishop Reh’s decision.

Before Pope St. Paul VI appointed him as the third Bishop of Saginaw on December 11, 1968, Bishop Reh participated in all four sessions of Vatican II, during which the Council Fathers asked for the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church – a request that Pope St. Paul VI approved. 

In keeping with the reforms of Vatican II, Bishop Reh soon established both a Lay Ecclesial Formation Program and a Permanent Diaconate Formation Program in the Diocese of Saginaw.

In his September 14, 1972 letter formally establishing the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program, Bishop Reh wrote, “As a Bishop I participated in the decision of the Second Vatican Council which allowed the restoration of the permanent diaconate as a proper and permanent rank in the hierarchy of Sacred Orders. …A board was established to formulate an actual program which would be suited to the needs of our area. …Now we are ready to initiate this program in full.” 

If you believe that God may be calling you to serve as a permanent deacon, you are encouraged to e-mail or call Dr. Dan Osborn at 989-797-6662 as soon as possible. Applications for the permanent deacon program are only accepted once every four years, and a key cutoff date is approaching in the first months of 2023. Both married and single men are eligible to apply for the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program.

"One of the things I enjoy most about the formation program is the comradery and friendship that we have formed among the seven candidates in the formation program. These are friendships that will last a lifetime. If ordained, I look forward to serving the people of God in the Diocese of Saginaw." - Jason Rasmussen

Jason Rasmussen (pictured above) is in his first year of candidacy for the permanent diaconate.