Becoming a Deacon: by Deacon Don Helgeson


Deacon Don Helgeson

At our first meeting with a member of our Diocese Diaconate Formation Team, my wife Susan and I went to discuss my application to join the Deacon Class of 2013. The first item the interviewer requested was for me to tell him a little bit about myself. I replied that I was born and raised a Lutheran, to which the interviewer immediately stopped me saying “you aren’t born anything”.

At first, I was taken aback by that comment, but as I thought more about it, I realized he was right. It is true that I was born into a family who raised me in the Lutheran faith, however it was the work of the Holy Spirit who guided me over time to learn about, and fall in love with the richness and fullness of the Catholic Faith.

While I had always been active in the church, both prior to and after completing RCIA, I didn’t think much about the diaconate. After all, as our Bishop reminded our class at Ordination, there’s very little a Deacon does that can’t be done by a lay man, or a lay woman. But as I soon discovered, the Holy Spirit wasn’t finished with me yet.

As time passed, I began to consider the diaconate. My interest further increased, and was to some degree validated when Fr. Paul asked me one day if I’d ever considered becoming a Deacon? What followed was a lot of prayer, by Susan and me, and in many ways our path of discernment didn’t always seem “intentional.” But we never felt alone. While difficult to fully explain here, it was the work of the Holy Spirit.

You weren’t born a Catholic. The grace of our loving Father and the love of a special person or people in your life, baptized you in the faith. The Holy Spirit has guided every step of your faith journey to this point, whether you know it or not. What is our Father calling you to next?

To the men of our parish, if you have ever considered ordained clergy, I ask you to pray about it. Not just once, but give serious time to prayer and discernment. Ask the Lord if a call to the diaconate, or the priesthood, is something you feel strongly about. Lift up your thoughts, doubts, and fears to our Lord, and I promise you they will be answered. They were for me.

If you would like to talk to me about the diaconate, feel free to call me at 630-699-9209. I promise to answer or return your call as soon as possible.


We expect Application for the 2024 Class to become available on the Diocese of Joliet, Office of Diaconate website in early Sept. 2019. There is a year of applications, interviews, screening, and among men invited for formation, one completes about 4 years of study. Advertising materials will be sent to the parishes publicizing some information/discernment sessions to be held at three (3) different diocesan locations. These will happen in late spring or early summer, 2019. Meanwhile, come talk to us.