What exactly is a "Lay Commissioned Minister?"

Since, properly speaking, only the ordained who perform ministry should be called “ministers,” what should laymen who work in apostolates be called? Syntactically it would follow that they should be called “apostles,” but this would sound presumptuous because the word “apostles” would invariably refers to the twelve. :confused:

Since even the document you quoted says that laity, in “determined circumstances”, are ministers, I’m not sure why you are discarding that term. :confused:

The ministry performed by the laity is different than the ministry performed by the ordained, so I’m not sure why confusion would arise.

the term used in documents approved by the US Bishops for lay persons who exercise a ministry in service to the Church (often paid professional) is “lay ecclesial minister”. There are national standards written by the various professional organizations, which have been adopted by the bishops, for training, certification and conduct of these ministries. Examples are NCCL (National Conference of Catechetical Leaders) who are called DREs in many parishes, and their sister organization for Youth Ministry (I can never remember the acronymns). Many dioceses adopt these standards for their own formation and certification programs.

I am sure there are parallel standards for those who serve the liturgy, but that is not my area of expertise. Many dioceses have Lay Ministry Institutes or training, esp. for extraordinary ministers of holy communion, and other roles taken by lay persons in parishes. Sometimes they are run in conjunction with diaconate formation classes, it depends on the diocese.

the job titles for paid and volunteer persons in various ministries also may vary by diocese.

Before any layperson can function in any ministry, as a paid parish employee or volunteer, they must be commissioned by the bishop, in whatever manner he decides, and this is often delegated to the pastors. For instance, September 16 is Catechetical Sunday, and on that day or any Sunday at the beginning of the catechetical year, the catechists will be commissioned either in regional gatherings or in their parishes. Here the bishop himself conducts this at a diocesan gathering, but it is also done in the parishes for those who cannot attend. It is a formal, public ceremony with a blessing, and indicates this person is operating under the direction of the pastor and bishop.

Lay persons may not presume to represent the Church in ministry unless they have been so commissioned. This also applies to lay persons who may wish to start an apostolate under Church auspices, they would need the bishop’s approval to claim a link to and support of the diocese.

You have no idea how spot on you are about your statement. Lay ministry formatio is a REQUREMENT for deaconate in my dicocese. It is an informal way for Liberal/progs to weed out us conservative types.

In our diocese both the permanent diaconate and the pastoral ministry program flourish. We have typically huge diaconate ordinations and equally huge commissionings of ministers.

And no, pastoral ministry is not a prerequisite for becomming a permanent deacon here.

Our diaconal program does require the Lay Ministry training program as a prerequisite. I don’t see it “weeding out” conservatives at all here though as there is a healthy mix of philopsophies without our classes.

The Code of Canon Law requires men to exercise the ministries of instituted acolyte and instituted lector, before ordination as a deacon.
“Can. 1035 §1 Before anyone may be promoted to the diaconate, whether permanent or transitory, he must have received the ministries of lector and acolye, and have exercised them for an appropriate time.
§2 Between the conferring of the ministry of acolyte and the diaconate there is to be an interval of at least six months.”
(The Code of Canon Law: New revised English Translation, HarperCollins Liturgical, 1997, ISBN 000599375X.).

I am not clear why we are discussion diaconate formation on a thread about lay ministers. The two are distinct, although a deacon may have some of the same duties or job titles as some lay ecclesial ministers, but there are more functions that are reserved to the deacon alone. It is possible that to make best use of resources some dioceses have both deacon candidates and lay ministry candidates take some of the same classes at the same time, but the goal, content, direction and purpose of their formation is different.

Not when commissioned lay ministers are being educated and commissioned every year in my diocese, and we haven’t had a class of deacons in five years.

There’s no doubt in my mind that “Lay Commissioned Ministers” are destructive to vocations.

Given the option, most men so inclined would rather be a “Lay Commissioned Minister” instead of a deacon. Why on earth would a man become a deacon if one can do 95% of what a deacon does with only 5% of the effort and commitment? Double this for the priesthood.

And if most sacramental responsibilities can now be done with only a handful of priests/deacons because LCMs do the rest, there would be no incentive or motivation to work/pray for vocations.

It seems to mean whatever the chancery wants it to mean.

I was a “commissioned chaplain” for two years, serving at a remote site by providing a paraliturgical service because the priest, actually a monsignor based in the chancery, was unable to serve us in addition to his other Sunday duties.

The service consisted of readings of the day, a discussion of how they might apply to us, and sometimes the rosary. Because we had no pre-consecrated hosts, there was no communion, and everyone participating understood that I was not a priest, thus no homily, and that this was not a real substitute for attending Mass, if they could do so.

The term “Lay Commissioned Minister” was not used, but I guess if someone had thought of it, such would not have been out of line.

I’m not certain I was clear. In my diocese, it’s not because of lack of interest that we haven’t had a class of deacons in five years. There hasn’t been a class offerred by the diocese in five years. There has been, however, lay institute classes and a focus from the Bishop on developing lay ministers. Hmmm.

Yours is a logical conclusion. In addition, a previous poster referred to this: there was a directive from the previous Pope that the word “minister” not be used by lay people. It is obvious why; there has been a blurring of duties and distinction between ordained and lay in recent decades.

I doubt this is correct. Can you provide a reference to where John Paul II said not to refer to lay people as “ministers”? If he did, why would we find this sort of the thing in the approved translation of the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal:
“310. … Seats for the other ministers are to be arranged so that they are clearly distinguishable from those for the clergy and so that the ministers are easily able to fulfill the function entrusted to them.”
“335. … It is appropriate that the vestments to be worn by priests and deacons, as well as those garments to be worn by lay ministers, be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual before they put into liturgical use.”
"47. After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers. The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers."
Many other examples could be given.

Here is the document:


Here are some relevant quotes:

“…in fact, a person is not a minister simply in performing a task, but through sacramental ordination.”

“§ 3. The non-ordained faithful may be generically designated “extraordinary ministers” when deputed by competent authority to discharge, solely by way of supply, those offices mentioned in Canon 230, § 3(56) and in Canons 943 and 1112. Naturally, the concrete term may be applied to those to whom functions are canonically entrusted e.g. catechists, acolytes, lectors etc.”

“It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as “pastor”, “chaplain”, “coordinator”, " moderator” or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest.(58)"

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