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Offices Parish Life Lay Ecclesial Ministry The Lay Ecclesial Minister

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The Lay Ecclesial Minister

The term “Lay Ecclesial Minister” is intended to encompass and describe a variety of different roles that may be filled by laity on the parish, diocesan and/or other Catholic institutional level.

Lay Ecclesial Ministers serve in roles such as pastoral associate, youth ministry leader, parish catechetical leader, director of liturgy and/or pastoral music, campus minister, pastoral care coordinator in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and/or jails, and in some cases, parish life coordinators. This term does not reflect a specific position title, but is a generic title that includes many varied leadership positions.

Who is a certified Lay Ecclesial Minister?

A “certified Lay Ecclesial Minister” is someone who has been formally accepted into the diocesan certification process, completed successfully all aspects of formation, and who has been “authorized” to serve as a Lay Ecclesial Minister in the diocese by the Bishop of Cleveland.

The service of a Lay Ecclesial Minister characterized by:

  • Authorization of the hierarchy to serve publicly in the local church;
  • Leadership in a particular area of ministry;
  • Close mutual collaboration with the pastoral ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons;
  • Preparation and formation appropriate to the level of responsibilities that are assigned to them.” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard, page 10)

How do I know if I am called to Lay Ecclesial Ministry?

The call to Lay Ecclesial Ministry is a gift from God that is discerned by the individual in conversation with their parish priest and other, lay and ordained, ecclesial ministers, their spiritual director and the Church. The Lay Ecclesial Ministry Office of the Diocese serves as part of the discernment once other, more personal, conversations have occurred. There are, however, certain characteristics that can be identified that may assist in this discernment. These qualities need to be evident in the individual as they seek application to the Diocesan Certification Process and will be further developed during formation.

What are some of these characteristics?

  • Be fully initiated member of the Catholic faithful and/or in full communion with the Catholic Church for at least 5 years;
  • A willingness to serve the Church and its mission joyfully and faithfully within the hierarchical communion;
  • A commitment to regular personal prayer and frequent participation in the Eucharist and the other sacraments;
  • Emotional maturity and the ability to sustain friendships and professional relationships;
  • A stable home and personal life, and the ability to grow and change in response to formational input and to seek assistance when needed;
  • Experience in ministry and demonstrated ability to take initiative, to lead others, to train and/or motivate others, and to interact in a collaborative way with others in a ministerial setting;
  • An ability to study theology in a consistent and demanding way;
  • An ability to implement what has been learned; relating theory to practice and academic study to active service;
  • An ability to define and achieve personal goals in a timely fashion;
  • An ability to differentiate one’s self from one’s ministry.

Candidate Kathleen Ott shares her Field Experience project in this video. She worked to transform her parish community to an on-line community, centered on prayer and growing spiritually through the Covid-19 pandemic. Hear about the challenges and blessing she experienced!

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