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The Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service approves certification standards and procedures. The arch/dioceses and national organizations whose standards and/or procedures have been approved certify. Lay Ecclesial Ministers who have proven that they have the competencies required by specialized certification standards are granted a professional certification by their national organization or arch/diocese and their certification certificate states that they are granted certification under the Subcommittee approved certification standards and procedures.
The Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service does not approve certification standards and procedures for a generic category often termed as Lay Ecclesial Ministers or Ministries. The Subcommittee approves certification standards and procedures for Lay Ecclesial Ministers who serve in ministry specializations such as Campus Ministers, Catechetical Leaders, Coordinators or Parish Life, Directors of Music Ministries, Family Life Ministers, Music Ministers, Pastoral Associates, Pastoral Ministers, and Youth Ministry Leaders. National organizations and arch/dioceses certify their members according to the Subcommittee approved specialized certification standards and procedures with the title from members’ area of ministry specialization.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Commission on Certification and Accreditation (USCCB/CCA) was established under a mandate by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) in 1982, and incorporated as a programmatic accrediting agency to accredit clinical pastoral education and ministry formation programs and approve certification standards and procedures in 1983. Since its foundation, the USCCB/CCA accredited clinical pastoral education programs. In 1995, it also began to accredit ministry formation programs. In addition, since its foundation, the USCCB/CCA also approved the certification standards and procedures submitted by national organizations of ecclesial ministers. Beginning in 1993, the Commission started reviewing the certification standards and procedures of specialized ecclesial ministers submitted by arch/diocesan offices. In 2004, the commission approved the first state-wide certification standards and procedures submitted by the Minnesota Catholic Education Association as an organization for the certification of catechetical and youth ministry leaders in six arch/dioceses in the state of Minnesota.
The current Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service was established under a mandate by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2011. The USCCB Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service replaces the separately established USCCB/CCA. After a study commissioned by the USCCB to review the history and role of the separately incorporated commission was completed, it was determined that there was no longer a need for commission to accredit programs and to remain separate from the Conference itself. Therefore the separately incorporated commission voted to dissolve itself in December 2011. The USCCB established the new Subcommittee of the Committee on Catholic Education in 2012 with the understanding that it would no longer accredit clinical pastoral education and ministry formation programs but focus now on the role of approving the certification standards and procedures for the certification of ecclesial ministers in both institutional (chaplains, campus ministers, etc.) and parish (DRE’s, youth ministers, etc.) settings.
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