USCCB President Announces New Initiative to Support Lay Ecclesial Ministry

On March 14, 2023, the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved two items which will be determinative of the Conference’s long-term support and engagement of lay ecclesial ministers. One decision was the formation of a Task Force on Staffing of Diocesan and Parish Ministries. Related to that decision was to bring to conclusion the work of the Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service, effective June 30, 2023.

These determinations were announced via letter addressed to National Organizations of Lay Ecclesial Ministry and to Lay Ecclesial Ministers by USCCB President, Most Rev. Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop of the Military Services, on May 1, 2023.

The work of the Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service in support of national standards for ministry formation and certification will be part of the information provided to the new Task Force so that they may decide how best to recommend support to the ongoing work related to standards and to certification by various organizations and dioceses.

Standards and competencies granted approval by the Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service retain their approval through the end of the calendar year noted on the documentation provided to the diocese or program whose standards were approved.

Reports & Resources of the Subcommittee

USCCB-Approved Ministry Formation & Certification Standards | Recent Activities Reports of the Subcommittee | Minister Development Resources, including USCCB statements and documents on lay ecclesial ministry

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