What does it mean to be a minister in the Catholic Church?

The word “ministry” can be equated to mean the work that the church does in the world. Therefore anyone who does “ministry” is a minister. This includes priests, deacons, women religious, brothers and lay professionals (like youth ministers and campus ministers).

Usually all of these people hold a master’s degree in theology, divinity, pastoral ministry or religious education. Some are ordained or have made promises or vows to a religious community, while others are not and are merely employed by a particular parish or diocese or religious community.

Taking my own parish as an example we have an ordained priest who serves as the pastor, a religious sister who is the pastoral associate, 3 lay people who are the director of religious ed, the youth minister and the campus minister. We also employ a deacon part time to be a marriage and baptism minister. All of us are ministers together but only two (the priest and deacon are ordained).

Mike Hayes

Mike co-founded BustedHalo.com in 2001. Currently, Mike is the director of campus ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. A frequent speaker on ministering to young adults, Mike is the author of "Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in Their 20s and 30s" and "Loving Work: A Spiritual Guide to Finding the Work We Love and Bringing Love to the Work We Do."