In 1971, the Bishop's Committee on the Permanent Diaconate, published guidelines for the formation and ministry of permanent deacons in the United States. These guidelines drew upon the experience and knowledge gained in the initial programs and upon a report of the Catholic Theological Society of America on the theology of the diaconate. In February of 1978, the committee was authorized to commission a comprehensive study of the permanent diaconate in the United States. A work ensued, entitled A National Study of the Permanent Diaconate in the United States, and it explained the strengths and weaknesses of the diaconate in the United States.
Deacon Ben Vigil was ordained in May of 1978. The second class of Permanent Deacons to be ordained.