I am pleased to present the National Association for Lay Ministry’s Formation Directory for Lay Ecclesial Ministers. It represents NALM’s commitment to the formation of lay ministers. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document, Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, is clear that people ministering within the Catholic Church need education in theological studies as part of their formation for ministry. Going beyond catechesis, “lay ecclesial ministers engage in theological study for the sake of a broadened and deepened faith and a better-grounded and informed ministry.” In Co-Workers, not only do the Bishops affirm the need for education of lay ministers, but they also suggest the use of techniques that maximize participation in coursework. With this in mind, this directory offers a listing of learning opportunities across the country. It is meant to be a starting point as people consider furthering their formation with education.

I urge you to consider furthering your education, whether seeking a certificate or degree or simply taking classes to update your knowledge and broaden what you bring to ministry. I hope this directory will be a way for you to begin your journey and deepen your service to the Church.

I want to thank all the schools and programs that are a part of this directory. Their support of lay ministry and their ongoing commitment to formation is a gift to the whole Church. 

Christopher Anderson
Executive Director
National Association for Lay Ministry


Search the Formation Directory

You may search the formation directory in several ways. Select one of the categories listed below to view the listings which correspond to that category. Select more than one category to view the listings which are in ALL of the categories you have selected. Finally, you may make no search selection here to simply see all the listings. (view all listings is the default setting.)


Aquinas Institute of TheologySt. Louis, MO

Online-Hybrid Programs: 1) Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction 18 credit hours, 2 year program.  Requires 1 online course each semester and a 1-week practicum on campus each summer. 2) Doctor of Ministry in Preaching 30 credit hours. Includes 1 week-long intensive study session on campus each semester. Three years of academic coursework, and up to […]

Boston College School of Theology and MinistryChestnut Hill, MA

The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry brings together the great traditions of Weston Jesuit and the Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry (IREPM) to prepare both ordained and lay ministers for service to the worldwide Church. The school also includes C21Online, a program that provides ongoing adult spiritual formation. The new school […]

Brescia University, Ministry Formation ProgramOwensboro, KY

Brescia University has three distinct programs for training lay ecclesial ministers, diaconate candidates and others interested in serving their church or learning more about their faith. Our residential program has offered education and formation to local scholars and traditional age students for over twenty-five years. Brescia’s online programs now accommodate adult learners from across the […]

Catholic Distance UniversityHamilton, VA

CDU is an online accredited university dedicated to teaching Catholic theology, providing catechetical certification, and offering continuing education for adult faith formation. From our three-week online interactive seminars to our semester-length undergraduate and graduate group classes, all of CDU’s authentically Catholic courses are well-written and well-taught. Our programs have no residency requirements, and our interactive […]

Catholic Theological Union (Chicago)Chicago, IL

Catholic Theological Union(CTU) is the largest Roman Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry in the United States. CTU offers professional certificates the academic MA theology and many more ministerial degrees. Through CTU’s distance education program, ministers may earn a professional credential, like a certificate in Pastoral Studies, completely online. Courses for the certificates can […]