•The Lay Ecclesial Ministry Institute (LEMI) was created in 2011 at the request of Bishop DiLorenzo to provide comprehensive ministry formation for lay leaders in the Diocese of Richmond.

•LEMI is guided by National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry. “Just as the diocesan bishop oversees the preparation of priests and deacons of the diocese, he is rightly attentive to the proper preparation of the growing number of lay women and men who minister in the Church.” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, p. 55)

•To apply, candidates must be actively ministering in a catechetical-related role in the diocese for a minimum of one year. Roles include: Directors/Coordinators of Religious Education, Youth Ministers, RCIA/Adult Faith Formation Coordinators, Campus Ministers, Catholic School Religion Teachers.

•Each applicant undergoes a psychological evaluation by a licensed professional.

•Two academic tracts with tuition subsidized by Annual Diocesan Appeal for Lay Development:

-LEMI -Traditional: Candidates earn a Master’s degree in Theology from a regionally accredited Catholic University.

-LEMI-Certificate: Candidates earn a Certificate of Study with Continuing Education Units from University of Dayton

•LEMI candidates are required to attend 40 workshop hours in human and pastoral formation to enhance ministry skills and help them build wholesome, healthy relationships with those to whom they minister.

•Candidates are encouraged to work with a Spiritual Director and are required to attend annual overnight LEMI retreats to help them develop a deeper spirituality.

•Out of 60 LEMI candidates, 80% choose to earn a M.A. degree in Theology.

•June 3, 2016, Bishop DiLorenzo commissioned the first 15 LEMI candidates at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

•June 10, 2017, Bishop will commission nine LEMI candidates as Lay Ecclesial Ministers. “His authorization demonstrates to the community that their work has his confidence and support.” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, p. 55).

“The four areas of formation—human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral – that provide a framework for the formation of deacons and priests provide a framework for lay ecclesial ministers as well.” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, p. 34.)