Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Geraldine Holmes


The astonishing growth of lay ecclesial ministry in the Roman Catholic Church began in the 1960's with the advent of the Second Vatican Council and with the emergence of a variety of specialized ministries one such ministry was to youth. The focus of this query was on the emergence of the profession of lay ecclesial youth ministry. The growth of the professional field of lay ecclesial ministry in the Roman Catholic Church can be seen in the writings of bishops, theologians, authors, national ministerial associations, and researchers as they address four major areas of concern. Those areas include: (1) the ministerial roles and responsibilities of the lay ecclesial minister, (2) the formation and preparation of lay ecclesial ministers, (3) the effectiveness of lay ecclesial ministers, and (4) the formal relationship between the lay ecclesial minister and the church. Various elements have impacted the ability of the profession to move to a more established and stable place as a field and within the church. These elements include the lack of consistency in both youth ministry position titles and responsibilities; the lack of standardization in employment benefits and salaries, as well as ministry formation programs, all present the field with critical challenges as it attempts to develop professionally. Lay ecclesial youth ministers, in this study, clearly believe that the advancement of two areas: professional activities (such as a national association or a professional journal) and professional credentials (such as national certification) are essential for the future development of the field. An increased understanding of the current state of lay ecclesial youth ministry will assist the field in movement towards resolution of the many issues which presently both enhance and challenge, the emergence lay ecclesial youth ministry as a profession within the Roman Catholic Church.