Lay Ministry Formation

Last updated: about 1 year ago

"The laity is called to participate actively in the entire life of the church; not only are they to animate the world with the spirit of Christianity, they are to be witnesses to Christ in all circumstances and at the very heart of the human community."
- "Gaudium et Spes"

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is blessed with lay men and women who respond to God’s call to holiness, to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in the world today. You may be interested in discerning your vocation to serve and minister, whether full-time, part-time or volunteer.  Lay men and women pursue programs of formation, degrees and other educational opportunities as a way to respond to God’s call, and to grow in faith, leadership and Christian virtue. 

We invite you to explore formation and theological study in the Catholic tradition that will make a difference in your life, your parish and the world. Come Holy Spirit!


The Archdiocese of New Orleans offers the opportunity for lay men and women to be formed and commissioned as Lay Ecclesial Ministers to serve in parishes, schools and ministries.  Notre Dame Seminary’s Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry offers a holistic formation program similar to diaconate and priestly formation programs to prepare lay ministers for leadership in the Church.

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Notre Dame Seminary has grown from an institution exclusively for priestly formation into a full-fledged graduate school, an apostolic community of formation, spiritual enrichment and theological discovery dedicated to the New Evangelization.  Notre Dame Seminary offers degree programs and formation for priests, religious, deacons and the laity.

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CATECHETICAL LEADERSHIP - Office of Religious Education

The Office of Religious Education of the Archdiocese of New Orleans provides formation and certification for parish and school catechetical leaders, RCIA facilitators, Catholic school administrators, and campus ministers.

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For almost 40 years, the Loyola Institute for Ministry has prepared Catholic lay leaders for ministry through master's degrees, certificates and continuing education. Our students learn and grow in faith in a supportive community on campus and online with classmates from around the world. Our programs are Ignatian, theological, and practical, and students focus on spirituality, religious education, youth ministry, pastoral care, digital culture and ministry, religion and ecology, or pastoral life and administration.  

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Based at Xavier University of Louisiana, the Institute for Black Catholic Studies is the first and primary national center for the study of the Black Catholic experience. The Institute’s graduate and continuing education programs bring together theory and practice, systematic and pastoral theology, rigorous academic study and committed ministry, classroom learning and practical application, rural and urban ministerial concerns, the marketplace and the Church.

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Studying undergraduate theology at the University of Holy Cross exposes students to the depth of the Judeo-Christian tradition, in the context of Roman Catholic theology. The University of Holy Cross also offers a graduate degree in theology that prepares students to incorporate theology into their lives or to become theologians and teachers for the Church.

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United States Catholic Conference of Bishops -

Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, USCCB document on lay ecclesial ministry -

Documents of the Second Vatican Council -

Christifideles Laici, Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People, by Pope Saint John Paul II -

Apostolicam Actuositatem, The Apostolate of the Laity, by Pope Paul VI -

National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers, USCCB


Gulf Coast Faith Formation Conference

Sponsored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans in collaboration with dioceses in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the annual Gulf Coast Faith Formation Conference is an important part of formation for parish leaders, catechists, and Catholic school teachers.


Archbishop Lyke Conference

An annual conference sponsored by the Lyke Foundation providing liturgical formation for the Black Catholic community.


Loyola Pastoral Life Center

The Loyola Pastoral Life Center is the continuing education division of the Loyola Institute for Ministry, offering enrichment and formation for Catholic education leaders and other lay ministers.