The fundamental goals of the Permanent Diaconate program of the Diocese of Charleston are: 1) to train and form, by study and prayer, men who have demonstrated active church service and leadership for diaconal ministry, and 2) to direct and support the ministry of permanent deacons in the diocese. To accomplish these goals, the Bishop of Charleston established an Office for the Permanent Diaconate. The United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB) promulgated the approved National Directory for the Formation; Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States on November 15, 2004. This document was approved by the Holy See. The Charleston program strives to put particular emphasis on the notion of the deacon "as one who serves." The goals of the program are these: 1) To provide theological formation that will prepare effective ministers of the Gospel, and provide enough knowledge of ecclesiastical sciences to make them competent in the specific ministry they exercise; 2) To provide the means for the spiritual development and growth of permanent deacons and candidates; 3) To provide pastoral formation that equips the deacon with the pastoral skills needed in his ministry; 4) To provide family formation that allows families to support enthusiastically their husbands and fathers; and 5) To provide on-going formation and direction for deacons and their families.