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, download the brochure, read the overview page, or contact us at or (847) 837-4550.


Program brochure.


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.  Two designated sites are available: the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein and Saint Xavier University in Chicago.


  • 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 both 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:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • Theological Reflection
  • Approaches to Prayer
  • Making Moral Decisions
  • Pastoral Care
  • Social Justice
  • Communication Skills
  • Mariology & Devotional Piety
  • Church & Culture
  • Sexual Morality
  • Church History I
  • Church History II
  • Church History III
  • Canon Law I
  • Canon Law II
  • Catholic Identity

Getting Started

Lay Leadership is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 academic year. If you are discerning the decision to join the program, download our brochure and contact us at or (847) 837-4550.


Join us for Information Night

Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 7:00pm

Prist Center (201P)

University of St. Mary of the Lake

1000 East Maple Ave., Mundelein, IL 60060


Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 7:00pm

Andrew Conference Center

Saint Xavier University

3700 West 103rd St., Chicago, IL 60655


Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 7pm

Kindlon Hall, 136

Benedictine University

5700 College Road, Lisle, IL 60532


Please contact us if you plan to attend.


Lay Leadership is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 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) 837-4550.



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

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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