Lay Formation and Certification
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Lay Ecclesial Minister Certification

Those who devote themselves to a regular professional ministry have an obligation to proper formation and education. Lay Ecclesial Ministers, just like the ordained; need and deserve high standards of formation, effective methods, and comprehensive goals.  All in this area of ministry will be instructed in (at least) six areas of Theology as well as participate in a "Ministerial Module" and an internship in their respective area of ministry.

Ministerial Formation focuses on the four areas of formation (human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral) outlined in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' statement on Lay Ecclesial Ministry, Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord.

Lay Ecclesial Minister Certification Overview


Process for Lay Ecclesial Minister Certification:

1. Contact the Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship
Freeda Marable, Administrative Assistant 

2. Apply for the Certification Process
Fill out the certification application and turn in all supporting documentation (required documents can be found within the online application form).

3. Plan Certification Path with Ministerial Advisor
The Coordinator of Ministerial Certification will review the application. Based on previous education and/or certificates - a plan will be offered for the certification process.

4. Complete Coursework
Theological coursework can be done minimally with a Certificate in Catholic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. If coursework in this area has already been completed, you will not be required to take it again.

  • Professional level certification
    • Certificate in Catholic Theology: This covers the minimum requirements of theological formation for certification: Theology, Sacred Scripture, Ecclesiology, Moral Theology, Spirituality and Liturgy & Sacraments.
    • Basic Diploma in Pastoral Ministry
  • Associates level certification: Associates degree in Ministry
  • Bachelors level certification: Bachelor's degree in theology, pastoral ministry, pastoral studies, etc.
  • Master's level certification: Master's degree in theology, pastoral ministry, pastoral studies, etc.

Ministerial formation is provided for the following areas:

  • Christian Service Coordinator
  • Coordinator of Youth Ministry
  • Liturgical Musician
  • Parish Catechetical Leader/Director of Religious Education
  • RCIA Coordinator

Register for Ministerial Modules at

5. Participate in a Retreat
The formation component is designed to nurture each person's spiritual life and commitment to life-long ministerial formation. At least one retreat is the requirement of the formation process.

6. Complete the Internship

  • The office of Evangelization and Catechesis will assist in placing interns in parishes or apostolates for their required internship. 
  • Interns will be asked to meet with a mentor a minimum of three times, be observed twice, and observe the mentor twice.
  • A recorded presentation is required for all areas of certification, with the exception of Christian Service Coordinators (although it is recommended if applicable).
  • A 1-3-5 year plan for your current ministry is required, with the hope of offering a vision and mission for where the particular area of ministry can grow and develop.
  • A self-assessment instrument (with supporting documentation and comments) is required.

7. Attend an Interview
Members from the Ministerial Certification Committee will interview the intern at the end of the certification process to review everything that took place throughout the internship and coursework.

8. Commissioning 
Once everything is completed, the participant will attend a Commissioning Mass with the bishop.


Lay Ecclesial Ministry Certification Handbook


USCCB.jpgThe United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service (formerly the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation) has approved the certification standards and procedures of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Office of Ministerial Certification for Coordinators of Youth Ministry, Christian Service Coordinators, Directors of Religious Formation/Parish Catechetical Leaders, RCIA Coordinators, and Liturgical Musicians through 2016.

The USCCB Subcommittee national office is located at 3211 Fourth Street NE, Washington, DC 20017 (202-541-3154). For more information go to: