305 – Pagella – Faculties for Deacons

Last Updated: 5/4/2011

May 4, 2011
Pagella of Faculties, Revised


With due regard being given for the diversity of orders, the faculties of deacons are to be interpreted in the light of the general and specific norms given in the Code of Canon Law and the particular law of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The provisions of the Code of Canon Law state that deacons are ordinary ministers of the Sacrament of Baptism (canon 861, §1), ordinary ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion (canon 910, §1), ordinary ministers for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the Eucharistic blessing (canon 943); and administrators of only those blessings which are expressly permitted to them by law (canon 1169, §3).

A deacon serves the people of God “in the ministry of the Liturgy, of the Word, and of Charity.” (Lumen Gentium, 11, No. 29). Moreover, ‘since clerics all work for the same purpose, namely, the building up of the Body of Christ, they are to be united among themselves by a bond of brotherhood and prayer and are to strive for cooperation among themselves according to the prescripts of particular law’ (canon 275). It is my hope that the following faculties will assist deacons in completing this sacred service.

Given at Saint Paul, Minnesota, this 4th day of May in the year of Our Lord 2011. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt

Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Jennifer Haselberger

Chancellor for Canonical Affairs

Faculties of Deacons Assigned to a Parish

  • A deacon receives these faculties from the Archbishop or his delegate by letter.
  • A deacon may carry out all the roles and liturgical rites which the approved ritual books assign him at the parish to which he is assigned. A deacon must obtain the permission of the pastor, chaplain, etc., when carrying out liturgical rites outside the parish of his assignment. The liturgical rites are to be carried out in accord with the appropriate liturgical norms and canons of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Deacons, with at least the presumed consent of the pastor of the church to which he is assigned, have the faculty to preach everywhere, unless this faculty has been restricted or removed by the competent ordinary, or unless particular law requires express permission. Having received the faculty to preach, a deacon must obtain the permission of the pastor, chaplain, etc., when preaching outside of the parish of his assignment.
  • A deacon can administer solemn baptism using the Rite of Baptism for Outside of cases in extremis, deacons are not permitted to baptize adults, because ordinarily the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist are administered to adults at the same time, and Confirmation is reserved to a bishop or a mandated priest (canon 851, 1° and canon 883, 2°).
  • General delegation is given to each and every deacon incardinated or canonically appointed to a parish in the archdiocese to assist at marriages within the confines of the archdiocese when at least one of the parties is of the Latin rite (canon 1109). The faculty is also given to subdelegate a specific priest or deacon for a specific marriage (canon 1111). Permission of the proper pastor should be obtained for marriages outside the parish or institution to which the deacon is assigned.
  • In accord with the provisions of the Rite of Ordination, deacons in the archdiocese have the permission of the archbishop to preside over public prayers, to give Viaticum (Holy Communion) to the dying, and to lead the Rites of Christian Burial.
  • As noted in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (USCCB, 2005), ‘The deacon can preside at the liturgies of the word and communion services in the absence of a priest. He may officiate at celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours and at exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. He can conduct public rites of blessing, offer prayer services for the sick and dying, and administer the Church’s sacramentals, as designated in the Book of Blessings .

Faculties of Transitional Deacons

  • Transitional deacons, when and while assigned to a particular parish for a diaconal internship or when at their teaching parish, have all the faculties of deacons as previously outlined. In these circumstances, the faculties of transitional deacons have the same scope as the faculties granted to other deacons.
  • A transitional deacon may utilize these faculties at the seminary according to the regulations established by seminary officials. Any use of these faculties outside of the seminary, except for as provided for above, requires the permission of the Rector of the seminary.
  • For a transitional deacon to assist at a marriage outside of his teaching parish or parish of internship, the special permission of the Rector of the Seminary is required as well as special delegation by the pastor of the parish where the marriage is to take place.