CARA, The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, has released a new book. Word, Liturgy, Charity: The Diaconate in the U.S. Catholic Church, 1968-2018, is a contemporary study of the diaconate in the United States.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate, the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD) and the USCCB Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations commissioned CARA to undertake a comprehensive national study of the diaconate. Word, Liturgy, Charity explores trends, focuses attention, and increases understanding about the evolving role of diaconal ministry in the Church in the United States.

This study builds on and extends previous studies of the diaconate that were published in 1981 and 1995 as well as annual research that CARA has gathered for the USCCB since 2005. All aspects of diaconate ministry are explored including the history of the diaconate, trends in the diaconate, characteristics of deacons, their formation, and preparation for ministry, their ministries and satisfaction with their ministry, the wives of deacons, and the relationship between the deacons and their bishops.

Written by CARA researchers, Mary L. Gautier, Michal J. Kramarek, Mark M. Gray, Jonathon L. Wiggins, Thomas P. Gaunt, SJ and Thu T. Do, LHC, Word, Liturgy, Charity is a valuable resource for understanding the diaconate, particularly for those who have little or no background in the subject. The authors explore trends in the diaconate as well as current and emerging opportunities and challenges in the ministry. They draw on data from surveys of active deacons and deacon directors as well as focus groups of deacons, deacons’ wives, deacon directors and bishops. The book provides a unique view of the permanent diaconate, their ministry today and into the future.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate is a national, nonprofit research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Founded in 1964 and affiliated with Georgetown University since 1989, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: to increase the Church’s self-understanding, to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers, and to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism. To learn more, visit the CARA website at

To order the book, visit Rowman and Littlefield.

Learn about the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Burlington on the Permanent Diaconate webpage or contact the director of the Permanent Diaconate, Deacon Pete Gummere, at or 802-658-6110 ext. 1152.