John Paul II Center - Milwaukee

Formation for Lay Ecclesial Ministers

The U.S. Bishops, in Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, explain the need for thorough formation for lay ecclesial ministers:

The Church has always required proper preparation of those who exercise a ministry. In the same way, CIC, canon 231, states that "lay persons who devote themselves permanently or temporarily to some special service of the Church are obliged to acquire the appropriate formation which is required to fulfill their function properly." Lay ecclesial ministers, just like the ordained, need and deserve formation of high standards, effective methods, and comprehensive goals. . .

"To set high standards," said Pope John Paul II, "means both to provide a thorough basic training and to keep it constantly updated. This is a fundamental duty, in order to ensure qualified personnel for the Church’s mission." . . .Lay ecclesial ministers need:

  • Human qualities critical to form wholesome relationships and necessary to be apt instruments of God's love and compassion
  • A spirituality and practice of prayer that root them in God's Trinitarian life, grounding and animating all they do in ministry
  • Adequate knowledge in theological and pastoral studies, along with the intellectual skill to use it among the people and cultures of our country
  • The practical pastoral abilities called for in their particular ministry  

Listed below are Graduate-level Programs for Ministry, Undergraduate Programs in Theology, and other formation opportunities:

Graduate-level Programs for Lay Ecclesial Ministry

Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, WI - MA in Lay Ministries
Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI - Master of Arts in Christian Doctrine
Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Hales Corners, WI - Master of Arts in Theology
Loyola University, Chicago, IL - Master of Divinity, Religious Education, Pastoral Studies
St. Norbert College, DePere, WI - Master of Theological Studies
Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM) - Graduate programs throughout the country. 

Undergraduate Programs in Theology

Contact these Catholic institutions of higher education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee:
Alverno College
Cardinal Stritch University
Marian University
Marquette University
Mount Mary College  

Other Opportunties

The John Paul II Center, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, serves as a clearinghouse for information on ministry formation, and offers specialized programs for church leaders in particular areas of parish and school life.  The Saint Clare Center, Cardinal Stritch University offers a Certificate in Lay Ministry.

St. John Paul II Office for the New Evangelization

3501 South Lake Dr.
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912


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