Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne recently accepted six men as candidates to become permanent deacons for the Diocese of Burlington.

Paul Kendall of Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Springfield, Tom McCormick of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Winooski, Mike Knowles of St. Dominic Parish in Proctor, Armand Auclair of St. Isidore Parish in Montgomery Center, Jordan Easley of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Winooski and George Flower of St. John the Baptist Parish in Enosburg Falls were presented to the bishop during a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on Oct. 21.

Permanent deacons are part of the ordained ministry in the Catholic Church. Unlike transitional deacons who are in the process of becoming ordained priests, permanent deacons can be either married or single, and they are not on a path to priesthood. Deacons aid priests in their parish duties by visiting the sick, providing spiritual guidance in the community and acting as a servant of God. In addition, deacons can witness marriages, perform baptisms, preside over funeral and burial services outside of Mass, distribute Holy Communion and preach homilies. Deacons are also expected to pray the Liturgy of the Hours each day.

The candidates who were recently accepted by the bishop are part way through their formation period. The total time for the program is five years, of which the first two are spent in Lay Ministry Formation. The remaining three years of the Diaconate Formation program involve human formation, spiritual formation, pastoral formation and academic formation.

For more information on the permanent diaconate, go to vermontcatholic.org/ministries-programs/vocations/permanent-diaconate or contact Deacon Pete Gummere at [email protected].