Pastoral Associate


About the Program

The Archdiocese of Baltimore received a grant for the formation of pastoral associates in the Archdiocese. The goal is to develop well-formed lay ecclesial ministers to continue to serve in the Archdiocese. This grant is open to parish ministers who have served in parish ministry for at least two years and who do not have a Master in Theology or a related pastoral degree. Grant recipients will be expected to complete the degree in the time specified by the Archdiocese.

The Pastoral Associate Formation Process will follows the guidelines for Lay Ecclesial Ministry formation, as stated in Coworkers in the Vineyard of the Lord (USCCB, 2005). This formation process is a collaborative effort between the Archdiocese and one of the approved academic institutions: the Archdiocese is responsible for coordinating formation in the spiritual, human, and pastoral dimensions, while the academic institution is responsible for academic dimension.

Program Requirements

In order to provide a comprehensive formational experience, in addition to the Masters program, chosen from one of the partner institutions, a successful candidate will participate in the following:

  • Annual retreat approved by the Institute for Evangelization
  • Regular meetings with a spiritual director (the Archdiocese does not assign the SD)
  • Participation in quarterly human formation offerings coordinated by the Institute for Evangelization
  • Participation in pastoral conferences and other pastoral formation as detailed by the Institute for Evangelization
  • Bi-annual meetings with the Director of Family, Youth and Young Adult Ministry or Institute for Evangelization

Cohorts of PAFP candidates will be formed every two years, with the next cohort starting in January of 2023.

Application Process

The application process consists of two separate applications: one application is to the Archdiocese and one to the academic institution. Please review the acceptance process and deadlines:

  • Application form
  • Current resume
  • Baptismal certificate issued within the last three months
  • An essay explaining how being part of the Pastoral Associate Formation Program will impact your future in parish ministry
  • One academic recommendation (A representative of the Institute for Evangelization will contact the person you indicate)
  • One recommendation from your pastor (A representative of the Institute for Evangelization will contact your pastor with instructions)
  • Copy of transcripts from each college or university which you have attended
  • Interview with application committee – this will be scheduled once all the above are received and have been reviewed by the Executive Director of the Institute for Evangelization

Application to the institution should be done concurrently with the application to the program, following the instructions given by the academic institution. Please note that the application to the partnering institutions will also require transcripts and recommendations. Please review the application requirements for the Academic Institute that you wish to attend.

Partnering Academic Institutions

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute (in person) – 48 credits / 16 courses
Schedule of Courses
Rev. Brent Laytham, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology
Dean, St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute
St. Mary’s Seminary & University
(410) 864-4201 email:

St. Joseph College (online) – 36 credits / 12 courses
Dr. Steven L. Bridge
Professor and Program Chair of Theology | Director of Online Programs
(207) 893-7953 email:

Franciscan University of Steubenville (online) – 36 credits / 12 courses
Tom Weishaar
Director of Online and Graduate Enrollment (740) 283-4410 email:

Loyola University – Chicago (online – Spanish) – 36 credits / 12 courses (closed curriculum)
Peter L. Jones, Ph.D.
Interim Dean, Institute of Pastoral Studies
Felipe de J. Legarreta, PhD
Faculty, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Liaison to Spanish Speaking prospective students

“St Mary’s Seminary” by Forsaken Fotos is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit



The Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Institute for Evangelization is a new model for engagement with parishes seeking to realize their evangelizing mission more fully.
The Institute is composed of four offices that collaborate closely to ensure that support is never “one-size fits all” but can adapt to the changing needs of each parish community.