Ministry of Lay Pastoral Leader

Ministry of Lay Pastoral Leader – new Volunteer Ministry 

Parish life has changed greatly. One obvious change is that there are fewer priests. This has resulted in some parishes having no resident priest. Where once we had a priest in each parish, now many parishes are served by the priests of the pastoral area. People are concerned about the future of their parishes. In the future, parishes will be served by a team of clergy and lay pastoral leaders working together as a team.

The ministry of the lay pastoral leader is a ministry of co-ordinating, leading and supporting pastoral activities in their local area. It will involve taking responsibility for some ministries traditionally carried out by priests. This new ministry will complement the ministry of the deacon and the priest.

If you are interested in exploring this ministry, check out Information Evening on Ministry of Lay Pastoral Leader

Next proposed recruitment – Spring 2025

Bishop Ray introduces this new ministry

The best known two-word phrase in Christianity is “Our Father”. It follows that every Church community is a family, sisters and brothers all. Family membership is by the Sacrament of Baptism. In every family, each member plays a vital part; together, all take responsibility for family life.

In an era when priests and religious were more than plentiful, so much was left in their care. Today they are fewer in number. Sustaining the fullness of life in the parish family requires the participation, commitment and leadership of the laity. Hence, I warmly welcome the “Ministry of Lay Pastoral Leadership” that we embark upon.

The future Church will be different, not better or worse! Our trust is in the Risen Lord, present and at work through the Holy Spirit.

Promotional video on Lay Pastoral Leader

If you are interested in this ministry, please complete this form: Lay Pastoral Leader – Expression of Interest – March 2022

Role of the Lay Pastoral Leader

The role of the lay pastoral leader is to co-ordinate and take responsibility for a particular aspect of ministry, in response to local needs.

Possible ministries will be:

  • Preparation for Sacraments – Nurturing the relationship between home, school and parish; co-ordination of initiatives to support families presenting their children to receive sacraments.
  • Pastoral Care – Co-ordinating visitation of the housebound/elderly/those in nursing homes; Supporting nursing home staff and residents to celebrate moments of prayer.
  • Liturgy – Co-ordinating the various liturgical ministries that enliven our Sunday celebrations of Mass.
  • Faith formation – Exploring faith with adults, facilitating opportunities for prayer and exploring the Word of God.
  • Youth Ministry – Ensuring that youth and young people are supported, valued and enabled to reach their God-created potential.


The training will include:

  • Personal and spiritual development [Prayer, mentoring and retreat days]
  • Pastoral ministry [Placement and training in ministry]
  • Modules in Pastoral Theology [Mary Immaculate College Certificate in Pastoral Ministry, Level 6]
  • Leadership [developing skills and working as part of a team]

The formation will be delivered through a blend of online modules and face-to-face gatherings which will take place at a location in the Diocese of Kerry.

Should I enquire further?

These questions may help your reflection:

  • Do you work well with others?
  • Have you developed skills in other aspects of your life that could contribute to this ministry?
  • Are you willing to reflect on your own faith journey, and participate in learning with others?
  • Can you commit yourself to 3-4 hours per week as a volunteer lay Pastoral Leader over the coming 5 years?

Pope Francis

 “We need lay people who are formed well, animated by a clear and sincere faith, whose lives have been touched by a personal and merciful encounter with the love of Jesus Christ. We need lay people who take risks, who soil their hands, who are not afraid of making mistakes, who move forward. We need lay people with a vision of the future….”          

Pope Francis to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, June 17, 2016