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 is the Director of Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of Cleveland and the host of 5 Questions with the Paulists. Mike is one of the founders of Busted Halo and has worked with young adults his entire ministry career in retreat, spiritual direction, and campus Ministry. He’s the author of "Googling God" (Paulist, 2007) and "Loving Work" (Orbis, 2012). Mike and his wife Marion live in Lakewood, OH with their dog, Haze.