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Home | Faith Formation | Lay Ecclesial Ministry Email, Print, Bookmark and Share

Lay Ecclesial Ministry

All of the baptized are called to work toward the transformation of the world. Most do this by working in the secular realm; some do this by working in the Church and focusing on the building of ecclesial communion, which has among its purposes the transformation of the world. Working in the Church is a path of Christian discipleship to be encouraged by the hierarchy." (Lumen Gentium, no. 5) The possibility that lay persons undertake Church ministries can be grounded in Scripture and the teachings of the Church, from St. Paul to the Second Vatican Council and in more recent documents. "Sharing in the function of Christ, priest, prophet, and king, the laity have an active part of their own in the life and activity of the church. Their activity within the church communities is so necessary that without it the apostolate of the pastors will frequently be unable to obtain its full effect." (LG, no. 33)

"Within the laity is a smaller group of men and women whose ecclesial service is 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)

What is a Lay Ecclesial Minister (LEM)?
A Vocational Call to Lay Ecclesial Ministry
Qualifications of a Lay Ecclesial Minister
Formation and Certification of Lay Ecclesial Ministers
Lay Ecclesial Minister Positions
Laity Share Responsibility for the Life and Mission of the Church

"An appreciation of the distinct gifts and apostolate of the laity will naturally lead to a strengthened commitment to fostering among the laity a sense of shared responsibility for the life and mission of the church. In stressing the need for a theology and spirituality of communion and mission for the renewal of ecclesial life, I have pointed to the importance of 'making our own the ancient pastoral wisdom which, without prejudice to their authority, encouraged pastors to listen more widely to the people of God'" (Novo Millennio Ineuente, 45).

"Certainly this will involve a conscious effort on the part of each bishop to develop within his particular church structures of communion and participation which make it possible, without prejudice to his personal responsibility for decisions he is called to make by virtue of his apostolic authority, 'to listen to the Spirit who lives and speaks in the faithful'." (cf. Pastores Gregis, 44)

"More important, it calls for the cultivation in every aspect of ecclesial life of a spirit of communion grounded in the supernatural sensus fidei and the rich variety of charisms and missions which the Holy Spirit pours out upon the whole body of the baptized in order to build them up in unity and fidelity to the word of God (cf. Lumen Gentium, 12). An understanding of cooperation and shared responsibility which is firmly rooted in the principles of a sound ecclesiology will ensure a genuine and fruitful collaboration between the church’s pastors and the lay faithful." (Pope John Paul II, Ad Limina Address , December 10, 2004. Origins)

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