What Lay Ministers Do

Following are brief 'job descriptions' for various lay ministers in parishes and other settings. These descriptions offer a very general picture of the responsibilities and activities of lay ministers.

For further information about particular ministries. 

Parish Lay Ministers:

 

 

 

Director of Administrative Services
Business Manager

Director of Religious Education
Director of Christian Formation

Pastoral Musician
Director of Music Ministry

Pastoral Associate
 

Adult and Family Minister
 

Liturgist
Director of Liturgy

Parish Director
Parish Life Coordinator

Youth Minister
Director of Youth Ministry

Human Concerns Minister
Social Justice Minister

Parish Secretary
Administrative Assistant

RCIA Coordinator
 

Parish Nurse
Minister of Health

 

 

   

Other Settings:

 

Chaplain
Director of Spiritual Care

Campus Minister
 

Retreat Director
 

Spiritual Director
 

Lay Missioner
 

School Principal
 

Catholic Elementary
or High School Teacher

 


Parish Positions

Director of Administrative Services / Parish Business Manager / Business Administrator
Provides for the overall financial and resource management of the parish. Administers the budget process in collaboration with pastor and finance committee. Oversees financial record keeping, computer operations and maintenance of buildings and grounds. Collaborates with pastor and personnel committee in developing and implementing employee policies.
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Director of Religious Education / Director of Christian Formation
Provides leadership in the design, implementation and evaluation of the parish's Christian formation programs for parishioners, pre-school through adult. Oversees sacramental preparation programs. Recruits and trains catechists; selects appropriate materials and textbooks; prepares a budget. Collaborates with pastor and staff in promoting the total educational mission of the parish.
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Adult and Family Minister
Provides leadership in fostering mature Christian faith within the parish community. Organizes educational programs and spiritual enrichment for adults. Directs activities and programs for people in all stages of family life, such as marriage preparation; parent education and family enrichment; support for the separated, divorced, widowed, remarried; ministry with young adults; and assistance in the religious formation of those with disabilities.
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Youth Minister / Director of Youth Ministry
Oversees the development of a comprehensive youth program including catechesis, prayer and worship, service, community-building, guidance, and leadership development. Enables youth to become involved in all aspects of parish life. Recruits and trains catechists and adult volunteers.
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RCIA Coordinator
Coordinates the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the process preparing individuals to become Catholic. Recruits and trains parishioners to assist in the process, as members of the catechumenate team or sponsors. Educates the parish concerning the vital role the community plays in welcoming, evangelizing and supporting those entering the Church. Prepares and assists in the celebration of the rites.
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 Human Concerns Minister / Social Justice Minister / Outreach Coordinator
Provides leadership in the parish's response to the human needs of parishioners, the surrounding neighborhood and the global community. Works with the parish's outreach or social concerns committee to foster parishioner involvement in direct service, advocacy, and justice education. Serves as a liaison between diocesan programs, social agencies, community organizations, and the parish.
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Pastoral Musician / Music Minister / Director of Music Ministry
Plans, coordinates and leads music within liturgical celebrations, in many cases serving as organist. Directs and trains the choirs, cantors, and instrumentalists. Collaborates with the liturgy committee and parish staff in planning weekly liturgies and other sacramental celebrations. Assists parishioners in preparing music for funerals and weddings.
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Liturgist / Director of Liturgy
Coordinates preparation for weekly liturgies and other sacramental celebrations. Collaborates with priests, music ministers, and liturgy committee in preparing for celebrations. Recruits, trains, schedules and supports the various liturgical ministers. Designs worship aids and provides leadership to the art and environment committee.
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Pastoral Associate
Shares in the overall care of the parish, assisting the pastor, and collaborating with other staff in a generalist fashion. May be responsible for one or more specific areas of ministry, e.g. sacramental preparation, faith formation, or pastoral care. Takes on responsibilities which depend on the needs of the parish and the gifts of the pastoral associate.
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Parish Director / Parish Life Coordinator
Entrusted by the diocesan bishop with the overall pastoral care of a parish without a pastor. Provides spiritual leadership and oversees the daily operation of the parish. Coordinates ministries of worship, education and faith formation, social concerns, and administration. Collaborates with a priest assigned to assist in the pastoral care of the parish.
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Parish Nurse / Minister of Health
A registered nurse who functions on behalf of the church as health educator, personal health counselor, referral agent, and liaison/advocate within the health care system. Helps parishioners appreciate the relationship between faith and health. Promotes wellness and prevention within the parish and neighborhood, and provides health monitoring and screening. Trains lay people to serve as visitors and program volunteers.
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Parish Secretary / Administrative Assistant
Provides clerical support for the pastor/staff and performs administrative services for the parish, including official record keeping and preparation of the bulletin and other parish communication. May serve as receptionist, oversee facility scheduling, or supervise volunteers.
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Other Institutions and Settings

Campus Minister
Serves the Christian community at a university or college by nurturing the faith life of students, faculty and staff . Coordinates or leads worship services, offers counseling or spiritual direction, promotes social justice efforts, direct retreats, and facilitate spiritual development programs.
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Chaplain / Director of Spiritual Care
Serves the faith community in hospital, nursing home, hospice or prison settings. Visits and counsels patients, residents and their families. Offers support to staff, and serves as resource. Supplements the ministry offered by the individual's own clergy or congregation, and collaborates with ministers from area churches. Coordinates or leads worship services, support groups or educational programs.
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Retreat Director
Plans and coordinates group or individual retreats. Makes presentations, leads prayer, and offers individual spiritual guidance during retreats. May administer the overall program of a retreat center. Collaborates with presenters, group leaders and other retreat directors.
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Spiritual Director
Provides confidential spiritual guidance and companionship to individuals. Often serves in a broader ministry, such as retreat work, adult and family ministry, education, formation, or campus ministry.
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Lay Missioner
Serves a Christian community in a location or culture different from one's origin. Collaborates with ministers and leaders of the local church. Lay missionaries are usually sponsored by a diocese, religious order, or mission agency.
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Catholic School Teacher
Teaches assigned subjects. Supervises students in classroom and other settings. Responsible for lesson planning, record keeping, and arranging the learning environment. Communicates with parents and collaborates with other teachers and staff.
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School Principal
Oversees the academic and religious program for children in a Catholic school and is responsible for the overall administration of the school. Provides leadership in fostering the Catholic identity of the school. Supervises teachers and staff; collaborates with pastor, parish leaders, and parents.
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Other
Diocesan offices and agencies, and Catholic institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, colleges and schools employ individuals with training and skills in administration, public relations, development, personnel relations, publishing and media, counseling, social work, and research.
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For further information about particular lay ministries, contact the related offices in your (arch)diocese, a local association of ministers, or one of the national organizations. Diocesan offices provide guidelines for various parish and school ministries, and may offer certification or official recognition. Local or regional associations of ministers provide opportunities for networking, support and professional development. National associations often publish newsletters, hold conferences, and develop professional standards . Return to chart

 

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