Archdiocese of Chicago
Office for Lay Ecclesial Ministry
Department of Personnel Services

On-Going Formation and Recertification

In its 2005 statement “Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops clearly outlined the importance and necessity of on-going formation for lay ecclesial ministers:
On-going formation, which strengthens ministerial identity as well as enhancing ministerial skills, is not a luxury to be pursued when time and resources allow, but is rather a permanent necessity for every ecclesial minister, lay or ordained. No lay ecclesial minister should feel excused from taking part in it; failure to do so represents neglect of a significant ministerial responsibility. (at page 51).
On-going formation can take many forms:

  • Diocesan, regional, or national conferences, and active participation in the work of diocesan, regional, and national ministerial associations
  • Immersion experiences (e.g., in other cultures)
  • Further academic coursework and ministry-specific skill development training, either in person or on-line; on-going personal reading and reading of ministry periodicals and journals
  • Continuing theological reflection on the practice of ministry
  • Diocesan or parish staff workshops, renewal days, short courses, study weeks, or retreats
  • Support groups, study groups, or book clubs
  • A relationship with a mentor and/or spiritual director (at page 51).

After their initial certification, pastoral associates are recertified every five (5) years. During each five (5) year period, pastoral associates are required to complete one hundred (100) hours of on-going formation activities.
The following web sites offer a variety of on-going formation activities:

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