My work at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this past year has included significant efforts resourcing and promoting Catholic lay ministry and related preparation and formation activities. In addition to evaluating feedback on its existing resources and work from bishops, the USCCB Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service was also focused on input from diocesan lay ministry leaders, leaders of national ministry organizations and the contributions submitted about lay ministry in the national Synod process. These resources have helped the subcommittee to discern with these constituencies what is most needed in support of lay ministry in this critical time, and how to carry those needs forward into upcoming USCCB strategic planning endeavors.
Through the ongoing work of my office, I was able to offer guidance to the subcommittee as it approved enhanced lay ministry standards in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and provide updates on efforts to enhance lay ministry preparation work in prison ministries and other areas of pastoral care, among other consultations. I was also able to draw attention to a recent academic work that raises vital issues to address in ministry formation in the 21st century.