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2022 Summary of Activities

The subcommittee has spent a good deal of time in 2022 receiving direct feedback on its existing resources and work from bishops, diocesan lay ministry leaders, leaders of national ministry organizations and the contributions submitted about lay ministry in the national synod process. These resources have helped the subcommittee to discern with these constituencies what is most needed in support of lay ministry in this critical time, and how to carry those needs forward into upcoming USCCB strategic planning endeavors.

Read the Activities Report


USCCB Subcommittee Approves Ministry Formation & Certification Competencies for the Archdiocese of Chicago

September 2022 - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service has had a long-standing fruitful engagement with the Archdiocese of Chicago and its work to prepare lay women and men as ecclesial ministers. In its fall meeting, the Subcommittee approved updated ministry formation and certification standards and competencies for the archdiocese, as administered in collaboration with the Institute for Pastoral Leadership (IPL) at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois.

The Archdiocese’s program is one that has historically built strongly on the vision and practice outlined in the USCCB’s 2005 statement on resourcing lay ecclesial ministry, Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord. The Archdiocese and those charged with formation have also worked hard to adapt their program in light of changing realities while maintaining a high-quality set of standards to demonstrate ministry competence.

The subcommittee recognizes that resourcing for lay ministry formation varies widely across dioceses and is challenging in today’s budgetary climate. At the same time, subcommittee members have indicated they see in programs such as that implemented by Chicago a good model for advancing lay ecclesial ministry formation. It is also a process which could be adjusted to meet needs in individual dioceses, or in regional or state Catholic Conference collaborations to help train and prepare professional and volunteer lay ministers. Certainly, the movement to online ministry formation classes and trainings, accelerated by the pandemic’s impacts, highlight ways in which a hybrid ministry formation collaborative across multiple dioceses could be effective.

Read a summary of the Archdiocesan Program

Bishops and ministry leaders seeking more information about these standards, other diocesan and nationally approved standards, consultation on ways to initiate or update existing diocesan lay ministry formation programs, or engagement with trusted national ministry organizations and institutes which can provide logistical and financial support for ministry formation, please contact us.

The USCCB as a Formation Resource

The USCCB as a Formation Resource

Bishop Gerald Kicanas discusses how review of ministry formation and certification standards by the USCCB Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry & Service is a resource for bishops, diocesan ministry programs, and national ministry...

We resource bishops, regional and state conferences of bishops, diocesan programs, and professional ministry associations and organizations across the country. We support their efforts to train those who minister in the name of the Church.

  • We review and approve certification standards, competencies, and procedures, primarily for specialized ministry leadership roles in the Church for lay ecclesial ministers, but also for some priests and deacons.
  • We promote these standards and other ministry formation resources, so that bishops, diocesan programs, and organizations we work with are aware of them, use them, and also promote them.
  • We consult on best practice resources and the promotion of lay ecclesial ministry formation and certification, especially with diocesan and academic programs which provide comprehensive ministry formation.

We are a subcommittee of the Committee on Catholic Education. Learn more about the mandate and work of our subcommittee.

Standards Recently Approved by the Subcommittee
in Support of Lay Ecclesial Ministry & Other Ministry Leadership Roles

For diocesan, parish-based, and Catholic school roles

Parish Life Director • Parish Business Manager • Adult Faith Formation • Catechetical Leaders • Charity & Justice Coordinator • Parish Director of Evangelization • Director of Music Ministries • Director of Worship (Diocesan & Parish)• Youth Ministry Leaders / Pastoral juvenil hispana (Diocesan & Parish) • High School Campus Minister • Pastoral Associate (various ministry leaders) ... and more!

For colleges/universities, hospitals / health care, prisons & detention centers and other groups

College Campus Minister • Board-Certified Catholic Health Care Chaplaincy & Pastoral Care for Persons who are Sick, Elderly or in need of Home Care • Prison & Detention Ministries • Board-Certified Veterans Chaplains

View Programs using Approved Standards for Ministry Formation & Certification

Learn more about the approvals we offer for certification and ministry formation standards.

Are you seeking ministry certification? Find out more here.

Catholic Prison Ministries: Formation Resources

Catholic Prison Ministries: Formation Resources

Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo and Mr. Joseph Cotton of the Archdiocese of Seattle discuss the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition.

"We encourage ... creative ways of providing opportunities for the preparation and formation of lay ecclesial ministers, especially in mission and rural areas, and for meeting the needs of various cultural groups .... We encourage all engaged in the ministry of formation to provide for that assessment and evaluation."


"A shared formation program vision ... and the building of relationships among formators ... [help] realize the vision, principles, and components of the total formation process and how they are to be integrated."

Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord:
A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry

pp. 33, 50