By Marc J. DelMonico
The USCCB Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service is proud to have a long affiliation with NACC. Overall, the relationship between the USCCB and the NACC stretches back nearly 60 years! Prior to 2012, the Commission on Certification and Accreditation was a partner with NACC in the approval of certification competencies for Catholic healthcare chaplains. When the subcommittee was formed that year, it reaffirmed and continued that relationship.
The subcommittee provides resources for bishops, diocesan programs, and professional ministry associations and organizations across the country. We support their efforts to train those who minister in the name of the Church. NACC’s support of developing competencies in parish- and diocesan-based ministries and other specialized areas has been a resource of inestimable value for all groups who seek to provide certification, preparation, and other forms of credentialing for ministry.
In my role at the USCCB, I assist the subcommittee in the review and approval of certification standards, competencies, and procedures for specialized ministry leadership roles in the Church. In addition to lay ecclesial ministers, the competencies and certifications often also apply to priests and deacons in specialized ministries, such as chaplaincy and campus ministry. I work with our subcommittee to promote these standards and other ministry formation resources, so that bishops, diocesan programs, and national Catholic ministry organizations are aware of them, use them, and promote them.
I was grateful for the opportunity to work closely with David Lichter and representatives from the NACC in our subcommittee’s most recent review and approval of NACC’s certification competencies and other formation resources. I have helped NACC promote chaplaincy as a vocational path for discerning ministers of all ages. I organized production of several testimonial videos about NACC’s work with our subcommittee, and about the value of well-prepared and formed Catholic prison ministers and correctional chaplains, in support of NACC’s work with the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition. Some of these videos are already posted on our website at usccb.org/certification, with more to come in the months ahead!
In my work at the USCCB, I consult on best practices in lay ecclesial ministry formation and certification with diocesan and academic programs, as well as with Catholic ministry organizations, including NACC. The subcommittee has worked closely with NACC to enhance certification competencies. Also, both I and my predecessor helped NACC develop partnerships for building similar resources in other areas of pastoral care, including the Partners in Pastoral Care initiative and the NACC’s relationship with CPMC.
The USCCB Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service is very grateful for the hard work of David Lichter and all of those in leadership and on the staff of NACC over many years. Dr. Lichter also recently concluded his service as a consultant to our subcommittee, for which we are also deeply grateful. All of this work has not only enhanced the preparation of chaplains and other pastoral caregivers but has helped the efforts of the subcommittee, both within the USCCB and in the national Catholic community, to promote and resource comprehensive formation and support of ecclesial ministers. I look forward to the continued development of this collaborative relationship in the months and years to come!
Marc J. DelMonico, PhD, is director of certification for ecclesial ministry at the USCCB.