USML | Lay Leadership

Institute for Lay Formation

Lay Leadership

Lay Leadership is a two-year certificate program designed to form the laity of the Archdiocese of Chicago in their human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral dimensions.

The program is for you if you are seeking to:

  • Grow in faith and spirituality
  • Engage in deep, systematic study of the Scriptures, Church History, Catholic Doctrine, the Sacraments, and the Catechism
  • Take classes with top scholars and Archdiocesan leaders, including the faculty of the University of St. Mary of the Lake
  • Develop confidence and practical skills for active participation in the life of the Church
  • Move through the program as a cohort, learning in a supportive community and building valuable relationships with other Catholics passionate about their faith

For program details read the overview page, or contact us at or (847) 837-4552.


Lay Leadership is now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 academic year.

To apply, submit a completed application form and a letter of recommendation.

For more details about the program, download our current brochure or contact the Institute for Lay Formation at (847) 837-4552.




The Lay Leadership curriculum covers key areas of the Catholic faith and emphasizes integration of content into everyday life.  Adult learning style classes consist of lecture, small and large group discussion, and integration papers. 

The program follows the semester calendar of the University of St. Mary of the Lake. Classes meet once a week on Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. Three designated sites are available: the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Saint Xavier University in Chicago and Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.


  • Introduction to the Catechism & Catholic Doctrine
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Sacramental Theology
  • Christology


Much of the human, spiritual, and pastoral formation takes place during retreats and formation days at the University of St. Mary of the Lake.  These formation events are essential for developing the cohort into a true community of faith and practice.  Participants from all sites come together for prayer, input, and reflection for the following events:

  • Opening and Closing Retreats, one weekend each at the beginning and end of the program
  • Formation Days, approximate one full Saturday per month

Formation Day topics:

  • Charism Workshop
  • Prayer
  • Communication Skills for Ministry
  • Mariology and Devotional Piety
  • Integration Charisms
  • Canon Law
  • Mission, Church & Culture
  • St. John of the Cross
  • Integration Day
  • Kerygma/Intentional Discipleship
  • Making Moral Decisions
  • Sexual Morality
  • Catholic Social Teaching
  • Church History
  • Pastoral Care

Getting Started

Lay Leadership is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 academic year.To apply please download an application and letter of recommendation. If you are discerning the decision to join the program, download our brochure and contact us at or (847) 837-4552.


Join us for Information Night

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 7:00pm

Prist Center (201P)

University of St. Mary of the Lake

1000 East Maple Ave., Mundelein, IL 60060


Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 7:00pm

Andrew Conference Center room 105

Saint Xavier University

3700 West 103rd St., Chicago, IL 60655


Thursday, March 19, 2015 , 7:00pm

Please call for room location

Benedictine University

5700 College Road, Lisle, IL 60532


Please contact us if you plan to attend any of our informatoin evenings.



The program cost is $1,200 per year which includes tuition and all formation expenses. Monthly payment plans are availble.

Students are responsible for purchasing their books.  

Students may opt to pay the full amount independently or negotiate with their parish or sponsoring agency to share the cost.

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