Is there an organization of laypeople to help churches teach the faith?


My church is largely run by laypeople. I have a lot of concerns that, while well intended, many of the decisions made are not always congruent with the teachings of the Catholic church. Is there any church organization of laypeople that exists whose primary mission is to help ensure churches are run explicitly according to the teachings of the church? I’m aware of Knights of Columbus, Altar Rosary Society, etc. and they’re all great, but I’m looking for one that is devoted to preserving our faith, and recognized by the Church as doing such.

If not, would the Catholic church consider forming one somehow? While this notion may sound silly at first, I find that many people don’t consider congruence with teaching with as much urgency as they should. Instead, they rely on what they know, or how they interpret a teaching. As church attendance goes down and more priests retire, my local diocese is relying more and more heavily on laypeople. If there was an organization of laypeople sanctioned by the church that people could join, whose primary mission was to ensure the individual churches stay congruent to her teachings, I feel we could do much better in maintaining and upholding our Catholic faith.

And if such an organization already exists, please let me know! Thanks and God Bless


The subject of the thread asks about helping Churches teach the faith and the body of the first post asks about running Churches according to the teachings of the Church.

Is the concern how Churches are run or religious education?

If the concern is how Churches are run then that is direct responsibility of the Pastor and he ultimately answers to the Bishop for this. The Bishop may have specific people delegated to oversee things in the parishes such as Liturgy. If the concern is that the Church is run improperly then the first stop is the Pastor’s office.

I really don’t think a pastor is going to bring in a group of laypeople to do what he is supposed to be doing in the first place. It really sounds like the Church needs to pray for deacons.



Pax Christi!

It’s true: the Church needs knowledgable, faithful laypeople as teachers, lectors, EMHCs and other ministries. If parishes rely on a sign-up sheet and accept all volunteers based on Mass attendence, risks are being taken.

If there is some training available to show (maybe a certificate?) familiarity with Church teachings, this could help a lot. We can’t all get a Master’s in theology to become deacons, who must be men in any case.

God bless.


A masters in theology is not required to become a deacon, at least not that I have seen and certainly not in the Archdioces of Atlanta. The Church herself describes the diaconate as a visible sign of the Church at work in the world and encourages men who work in ordinary professions to be that sign - police and IT workers and accountants.

You do bring up a good point about certificate though and Lay Ecclesial Ministry certification may be something the OP should look into.

The USCCB sets standards for certification. Read Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service at the USCCB website.

National Association for Lay Ministry is at

Spring Hill College offers a LEM certification as does Loyola.



Third Order of St. Dominic - Lay Dominicans…

And if such an organization already exists, please let me know! Thanks and God Bless


There are MANY such organization including the one running this very website.

It is the Church’s primary mission to evangelize, which includes teaching the faithful what the church teaches. This is done at the parish level by catechesis, at the diocesian level by various programs and by several lay apostolates. Some of those include:

The National Fellowship of Catholic Men
St. Joseph Communications

and countless more. However, as they say: "you can lead a horse to water . . . "

Ultimately it is up each individual to “seek” a greater understanding. We can’t “make” people grow in their faith.

Parishes are constantly offering faith formation programs, as are the dioceses, but they generally are not well attended.

What you are suggesting is ultimately the responsibility of each Bishop. Forming more organizations is not the answer.


Pax Christi!

Requirements for the diaconate vary; my former diocese required a Master’s in theology. In any case, all are male.

Thanks for the links; LEM sounds like what’s needed. When the faithful seek, it’s important to have knowledgable assistance!

God bless.


The deacon is spot on about this. While I sympathize strongly with the OP, the bottom line is that it is unlikely that many parishes would require specific training. It is possible the bishop(s) could, but there is always the issue of whether or not that may cause a number of parishes to discontinue programs, either because of disagreement with the requirement, or lack of anyone with the qualifications (not that in some instances that might not be an improvement).

The laity have become much more involved in parishes since Vatican 2. In some instances, that has not been a plus; in others, it has been a tremendous blessing - the dividing line being faithfulness to the Magisterium. There are numerous groups (as the deacon pointed out) and a phenomenal amount of books and videos, all of which bring evangelization forth to parishes which choose to use them. Again, what is used often is reflective of the tenor, attitude and culture of each parish. It is not a lack of information so much as it tends to the views (culture) held by the parish.

And as noted, even in parishes which one might term as very reflective of the Church, most parishioners do not attend the several week sessions providing education in the faith.


Really? Required masters in theology?

I’m sure that is pastoral theology but even so, requiring a graduate degree in theology sounds like it would severely limit the number of men entering into formation who would be excellent candidates otherwise.

Here in Atlanta they go through five years formation, every other Saturday during the school year on alternating Saturdays for the whole day. Archbishop Gregory wrote the USCCB guidlines for life and formation of deacons.

As to the LEM, I’m really surprised that it didn’t open the floodgates for complainers that there are too many lay people running ministries, too many women ministry leaders, etc.



My archdiocese also requires a Masters; it is part of the 5 year program.


The two go hand in hand in our parish. Those 6 or 7 women who have ministry degrees run the parish, and teach the parish, with some help from the pastor. That includes the material presented in the various arenas of catechesis.

The catechetical programs are (I hate the label but I have to describe it) “liberal” theologically. So we have a de-emphasis of the Eucharist (yes I am 100% serious) and other core doctrines, and an over-emphasis on experience, feelings, relationships, and ecumenical indifferentism (all of which are important, but not unhinged from core truths).

The solution? Offer to help. Educate ourselves. Speak up. Gather materials from good Catholic sources. There are plenty of good resources available.
Present the faith in all it’s beauty, truth and goodness.

I see the LEM discussed above.
As it is taught and learned in our area, I would not recommend it. I believe the program as it is in our area, encourages skepticism, doubt, and personal interpretations rather than reinforcing the faith as it is.


The requirements should come from the Diocese, and it’s the leadership from the Diocese who should be letting people know what the requirements are for the various volunteer positions.


Marian Catechists are top notch.


When I volunteered in my last parish and did committee work, I was asked by the pastor and the pastoral assistant, what kind of education and work experience I had that would help contribute to the committees that I was asked to join.


Excellent. :thumbsup:


I agree with the Marian Catechist Apostolate.

This organization takes the “student” thru at least
2 years of training, and if so desired, a third year.

The training is according to Father John A. Hardon’s
work: 2 courses, including study in the Catechism, and
several other books. They also have a list of spiritual
reading and spiritual practices. It can be taken by active
or contemplatives.

This training was given to Mother Teresa and her
Community as requested by St. Pope John Paul II


Check your local Catholic University for continuing ed courses like this one that offers certificates for catechists


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