Permanent Diaconate

Might God be calling you to serve as a permanent deacon?

  • Do you have a deep commitment to your Catholic Faith and your prayer life?
  • Are you committed to your family and work – faithful to your responsibilities and generous with your time?
  • Do you have a strong desire to serve others, in the Church and in the wider community?
  • Have others suggested that you might consider the permanent diaconate to be a vocation for you?
  • Do you think you are not good enough, or capable enough, to become an ordained minister?

Perhaps God is calling you……….

Why not have a chat with your parish priest? He will be able to help you to discern whether or not you should consider applying to be accepted onto the formation programme for the permanent diaconate. If you know any deacons it would be helpful to talk to them, and their wives if possible, about what it means to be a deacon.

Current students:

If you would like more information, please contact Fr Christopher Whitehead, Director of Formation for the permanent diaconate,

Alexander House,
160 Pennywell Road,
Bristol, BS5 0TX
0117 902 5595

Current student

Eric Holliday Eric is a member of the congregation at Holy Rood in Swindon and he supports his wife Marguerite in the youth ministry and music at 5.30pm Mass. He works as a GP in the town and is the proud father of 3 grown up children. He enjoys a walk or bike ride in the countryside and a bit of cooking. He is looking forward to getting more involved in what God is doing in in the parish and the community around us. Eric began his diaconal formation in September 2017.

Richard Mills Richard lives in the parish of St Catharines, Frome, and is a regular visitor to Downside Abbey. As a non-believer he was astonished to receive a ‘calling’ during his son’s confirmation Mass in 2010. He was baptised, confirmed and received his first Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil the following year and has since been on a long journey of discovery. He is married with 3 children and aside from working, studying, prayer and family life, Richard volunteers for Samaritans and enjoys racing mountain bikes when time permits. He is solicitor specialising in construction and engineering. Richard began his diaconal formation in September 2017.

Jose (Joe) Almeida.
Joe is a member of Holy Rood Catholic Church in Swindon where he currently serves as a Reader and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and participates in a number of activities in the church. Joe began his diaconal formation in September 2018.


John Andrews
John was baptised in, and is still a parishioner of, St Gregory the Great in Cheltenham. He is involved as a musician, singer, reader and catechist in both St Gregory’s and St Thomas More, and also as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion visits the sick in hospital and those housebound. A lecturer in computer science at the local college, John also provides support maintaining the parish website. He is married to Jane and they have grown up children with whom they enjoy cycling, sailing and making music.  John began his diaconal formation in September 2018.

Charles Hickman
Charles lives in Filton with his wife Catherine and their two teenage sons and has been a member of the St. Teresa’s parish since his return to the Catholic faith in 2013. He works in IT for the city council and is involved in a number of parish activities, including reading at Mass, being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and working as part of the parish SVP and outreach groups. When time allows for leisure, he enjoys cycling and reading. Charles began his diaconal formation in September 2018.

Bartek Kowalewski
Bart has been living in Bristol for nearly 14 years now and is based in the Polish community Parish Church of the Shrine of Mercy in Bristol. There he is involved in catechesis and evangelisation for youth, men, marriages and families. He is husband to Anna and father of 3 children; loves Bible, all things evangelisation, coffee and sport. Working in social and sport science (football) projects. Bart began his diaconal formation in September 2018.