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Address: 1404 East 9th Street, Cleveland, OH 44114

Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
Offices Parish Life Lay Ecclesial Ministry Certification Program

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Diocesan Certification Program

Preparation for ecclesial ministry in the Diocese of Cleveland has four formation dimensions: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral.

The process for the certification of laity for ministerial leadership in parish, diocesan and other Catholic ministerial settings has been in place in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland since 1980. The formation of the laity for ministerial leadership requires a comprehensive program of formation that consists of the human, spiritual, academic and pastoral dimensions of ministry.

The Diocesan Certification Program follows a three-year cycle of twice-monthly sessions intended to provide the candidate with a small faith community for support and encouragement, communal theological reflection and prayer.

Human formation seeks to develop the lay ecclesial minister’s human qualities and character fostering a healthy and well-balanced personality, for the sake of both personal growth and ministerial service.” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard, page 36)

  • Year one of the three-year cycle includes input in areas of human growth and development, and interpersonal dynamics;
  • Annual evaluation by Formation Facilitators and Lay Ecclesial Ministry Office staff;
  • Annual (minimally) goal setting appointment with the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Office staff.

What is spiritual

Spiritual formation aims to arouse and animate the hunger for holiness, desire for union with the Father through Christ in the Spirit, daily growing in love of God and neighbor in life and ministry and in the practices of prayer and spirituality that foster these attitudes and dispositions.” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard, page 38)

  • Year two of the three-year cycle of twice-monthly sessions provides input in areas of spiritual growth, faith development, and the Church’s spiritual traditions;
  • Regular practice of personal and communal prayer;
  • On-going spiritual direction;
  • Participation in at least one extended retreat annually.

What intellectual

Intellectual formation seeks to develop the lay ecclesial minister’s understanding and appreciation of the Catholic faith, which is rooted in God’s revelation and embodied in the living tradition of the Church. It consists chiefly of study of the sacred sciences but draws also upon a wide range of other disciplines: philosophy, literature and the arts, psychology, sociology, counseling, medical ethics, culture and language studies, business administration, leadership and organizational development, law and so on.” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard, page 42-43)

Listed below are the minimum core areas in which demonstrated competency is required. Courses must be taken at a college or university approved by the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Office. Each course must be at least 2 semester hours of credit. Courses taken more than 10 years ago may need to be updated. Courses need approval of Lay Ecclesial Ministry Office.

Sacred Scripture: Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures

Systematic Theology: Ecclesiology and Sacramental and Liturgical Theology and 2 electives chosen from: Christology; Trinity; Christian Anthropology (Human Nature, Sin and Grace); Pneumatology; or other as approved

Moral Theology: Fundament Moral Theology and Catholic Social Teaching

Pastoral Skills: Canon Law and

  • Ministry Specialization Training OR
  • 1 Pastoral Skills elective (2 credit course or total of 30 contact hours in approved workshops)

Pastoral formation cultivates the knowledge, attitudes and skills that directly pertain to effective functioning in the ministry setting and that also pertain to pastoral administration that supports direct ministry.” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard, page 47)

  • Year three of the three-year cycle of twice-monthly sessions provides the candidate with input in areas of pastoral sensitivity, the integration of ministerial practice and praxis, and reflection on the character and virtues of effective ecclesial ministry;
  • Ongoing evaluation of ministerial practice in primary ministerial setting;
  • Mentoring in four different areas of ministerial practice under the supervision of approved mentors for a total of 120 hours;
  • Demonstrated integration of human, spiritual, academic and pastoral formation in one Supervised Field Experience inclusive of 48 – 60 hours direct contact of service extended over 4-6 months.

What about past experience and credentials?

The Lay Ecclesial Ministry Office is aware that many people come to the certification process with a wide variety of academic backgrounds, experience in ministry and competency. The Office is committed to working with each applicant to assure that their experience, education and demonstrated competence in ministry is applied to the requirements of the process when and wherever appropriate.

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