Chancery Profiles: Frank Agnoli


Name: Deacon Frank Agnoli

Job titles: Director of Liturgy and Director of Deacon Formation

Contact information:  or 563-888-4257

Deacon Agnoli

What is your role for the Chancery? Director of Liturgy: The mission of the Liturgy Office is to support everyone taking part in our worship as fully, consciously and actively as possible. Therefore, my first task is to support the bishop in his ministry by preparing diocesan liturgies, helping order the worship life of our diocese and providing expertise as questions about the liturgy are raised. I also serve as a resource to pastors and other ministers in their communities by keeping them informed of updates regarding the Church’s rites and providing opportunities for ongoing liturgical formation for both the clergy and the laity. Finally, I also help parishes and schools with building or renovation projects through the Diocesan Building and Liturgical Commissions.


Director of Deacon Formation: My first and most important task is to help men discern whether they are really called to be ordained to this ministry. At the same time, I help men prepare for this ministry by organizing and overseeing our formation program, which includes the study of theology and pastoral care, practical experiences in the parish and community, spiritual direction and shared prayer.

What do you find most rewarding about your position? Liturgy: Being so intimately involved in what our Church teaches is the source and summit of our life as Christians, is an awesome privilege — whether that means preparing our diocesan liturgies or researching interesting liturgical questions. I love teaching about the liturgy — whether in parish groups or to those in formation for the diaconate (which I do here and in other dioceses, especially in the area of preaching).

Deacon Formation: It is a privilege to walk with the men in formation and their families as they discern whether or not he is called to the diaconate. To watch them grow in their faith, develop their spiritual lives, acquire and deepen important ministerial skills and become servants of God and God’s people is a real joy. Truly, to accompany others on this journey is to walk on holy ground!

What do you find most challenging about your position? Liturgy: Encountering resistance to our Church’s vision for and expectations regarding the liturgy and to learning more about it. We have such a precious gift to offer and it is sad to watch when the liturgy is celebrated poorly, haphazardly; without the care, attention and devotion it deserves. 

Deacon Formation: Formation involves growth, which isn’t always easy! Some men in formation are more open to the process than others. There are times when my task is to point out important areas in their lives that need attention — whether spiritually, academically, pastorally or personally.  Occasionally, this can lead to quite challenging and difficult conversations and even resistance. Among the most difficult conversations to have is letting someone know that we don’t see evidence of a call to the diaconate in them and that they will not be continuing in formation.

What question do people most often ask you? Liturgy: I receive a range of questions! Often it has to do with the calendar — what can we celebrate on a given day? Or, what do we do when Sundays and solemnities end up next to each other? I’ll also get questions about specific rites, asking for clarification if something in the ritual books or liturgical documents seems confusing; question about the liturgical space, arts and music (including questions about preparing the liturgical environment); and requests for resources to help form parish liturgical ministers. Sometimes, I’ll get really interesting questions about the origins of a text or practice, which sends me down a rabbit hole looking for the answer; those are a lot of fun!

Deacon Formation: I’m occasionally asked about the diaconate (What do deacons do?)  and about formation (How do I become a deacon?).

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