Pastoral Ministry Certificate Program

Professional development for laity working in parish pastoral and/or catechetical ministry
 in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO. 

The Pastoral Ministry Certificate program helps laity develop professional skills and learn best practices for working in parish pastoral and/or catechetical ministry both in paid and volunteer capacities.

This is primarily a solution for those new to lay ministry, but it can also serve experienced ministers looking to round out their competencies. 

The premise of this program is that every person who serves in a parish has the capacity to be a mentor and disciple maker in order to accompany others.

The program is offered in English and Spanish using online sources, as well as in-person, local workshops.

Applicants to the program are sponsored by their parish and must submit a letter of recommendation from their pastor along with their application.

Mentoring is integrated with the online workshops and local, in-person workshops.

Each mentor along with the program supervisor will work with the learner to ensure that the workshops and formation practicum provide the particular formation and skills needed for their pastoral and/or catechetical work.

Areas of Ministry

Those who complete this formation leading to certification will be equipped with skills and knowledge in their particular area of pastoral work. Learners may pursue studies with emphasis in the following areas of ministry:

Pastoral Care

Parish triage work, Counsel, Grief, Separation/Divorce, Mental health support, etc

Catechetical Leadership

DRE, CRE, Leader of volunteers, Discipleship, Adult Faith Formation Leaders


Program Directors, Coordinators, catechists, and team members

Youth Ministry

Youth Ministers and youth ministry team volunteers

Marriage & Family

Marriage Preparation, Enrichment/Support

From the beginning, the Christian community was characterized by many different forms of ministry carried out by men and women who, obedient to the working of the Holy Spirit, devoted their lives to the building up of the Church.


Program Elements

The program will be adapted to the needs of the individual pastoral worker allowing them to have a customized program of study.

For successful completion of the certification, learners will complete the following requirements:

Each workshop includes approximately 60-90 minutes of video or live lectures along with focus questions (online) and discussion (in-person/live). 

The course of study will take the average learner approximately two years to complete, though it could be less if the learner works more quickly. 

4 Online Core Workshops

Learners will complete four on-demand workshops, chosen in partnership with the diocesan approved mentor, from this list of eight workshops on the Franciscan at Home online learning platform:

  • Principles of Intercultural Communication 
  • Being Guided and Guiding Souls 
  • Following Jesus: The Challenge of Discipleship 
  • Building the Mentoring Relationship: Asking Good Questions 
  • Building the Mentoring Relationship: Empathic Listening
  • Personal Vocation and the Mentoring Relationship  
  • Catechetical Mentorship (This course does not only focus on catechists per se, but more generally on foundational skills for pastoral accompaniment.)

*Additional CORE workshops available in Spanish using V Encuentro Ministry Series and select courses on franciscanathome.com. Mentoring in Ministry.

*An additional 3-month, mentored cohort is offered for new Youth Ministers each Fall using National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) workshops. 

4 Live Core Workshops

Learners will complete four local workshops from the list of eight below that we will develop and offer in person with virtual/distance options.  Four of the workshops below will be offered each year (each workshop, once every other year). We may develop additional workshops as needs are identified. 

  • Proposed local workshops: 
  • Clear Path Basics 
  • Applying the Gospel in Pastoral Accompaniment 
  • Pastoral Care for Self and Others
  • Deep Prayer, Deep Conversion 
  • Intentional Conversations 
  • Human Anthropology in Pastoral Care 
  • Understanding the Church 
  • Mental Health: Integrating Pastoral Care Involving Multiple Caregivers 

8 Online Elective Workshops

Eight elective workshops will provide practical, specialized learning within each area of ministry emphasis. They will be selected by the learner with the guidance/approval of their mentor. 

Almost any one of the 170+ workshops offered on the Franciscan at Home online platform could be used as an elective. 

In addition, any workshops taken from the USCCB Hispanic Ministry Series (V Encuentro) or National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) workshops could be used. 

1 Retreat for Personal Development

Selected with guidance from mentor


Guided and evaluated by mentor

Completion Interview

Conducted with mentor and program director

Apply Online Today! 

To complete the program application, please fill in the information below and upload a letter of recommendation from your pastor in PDF or Word format. 

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
area of ministry Applying for*
Please Select One
  • Pastoral Care
  • Catechetical Leadership
  • RCIA
  • Marriage & Family
  • Youth Ministry
Additional Info about yourself
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upload pastor's letter of recommendation (pdf/word/JPG FILES only): *