What is the ecclesial ministry?
The USCCB has several documents about this. In brief, lay persons study at a Catholic University that offers a Certified Lay Ecclesial Ministry program. Upon completion, the Lay Ecclesial Minister is “qualified” to work within the Diocese and the Parish in capacities such as Pastoral Assistant, Parish Administrator, DRE, Prison Ministry, and other ministries that the priest may need help with. I completed the program about three years ago. It was very enlightening, and we had wonderful professors. There were RCIA people, Deacons, and DRE’s in the classes. I met some wonderful Catholics and made great contacts.
At the end of the day though, no one seems to care about this certification. We enrolled because it had been said that the current Bishop was keen on it. Even to the point that stipends would be granted to those working in parishes already once they had completed the program. When I inquired at the end of the process I was told that “oh, we were only thinking about that”. Whoever told you that it was a real thing misled you. :shrug:
But I don’t regret it, despite the big cost. Education is always a great thing, and it has helped me a lot.
A dear friend that works for a major Catholic Educational publisher says that in other parts of the country Lay Ecclesial Ministers are highly respected and in demand. Priests around here giggle or roll their eyes.
Funny…the boss who insisted that I really needed it to continue working there never acknowledged that I completed it. The nearby Franciscans sent me a really kind note though. :o