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The School of Parish Leadership & Evangelization (SPLE) offers lay leadership programs to help students grow in faith, knowledge, catholic intellectual tradition and service to prepare them for service in their parishes, neighborhoods and families.

Theodore Whapham, Ph.D., Dean
We envision a future invested in:
  • A growing impact on the life of the Church locally
  • An influence on the life of the Church in Chicago and beyond.
  • In synchronicity with the mission statement of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, we will shepherd the lay students in their service to God the Father, through the heart of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

As Pope Saint John Paul II stated in his November 1978 address to the Catholic Laity of Rome, Jesus Christ “wishes to continue his witness and His service through the laity…. He vivifies them with His spirit and ceaselessly impels them to accomplish every good and perfect work.” 

At SPLE you’ll find: 
  • Tradition
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Community
  • Broadened Horizons
  • Expert faculty
  • Pathways to service 
  • and so much more!
About our programs:
  • SPLE will lead the way in offering outstanding foundational education to nurture the servant’s heart.
  • Let us partner with your Diocese, Parish, or School to address your formation needs.
  • Programs are offered in online and hybrid formats.
  • Benefit from our beautiful campus and historic grounds.
  • Some of our classes are hybrid; and some short courses are fully online.

“In serving Christ in the brethren…all the baptized will be able to discover the meaning of their own life, joyfully experiencing mission on this earth; that is, being called, in different ways and forms, to ‘bring light, bless, enliven, raise up, heal and free”.   

Pope Francis, April 2023, Vatican News
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Our Programs

Graduate Degrees & Certificates


These degree programs provide the opportunity for in depth study of Catholic theology, liturgy, and ministry. Whether you are looking to advance your career or simply want to grow in your faith journey, our programs are flexible, in depth, and created for working adults.

Escuela de Liderazgo para la Evangelización (ILP)


The School of Parish Leadership and Evangelization is committed to serving the needs of Church which includes responding to the need for Spanish language programs.

Nuestro sueño es que todos los programas en la Escuela de Liderazgo para la Evangelización estén disponible en el idioma propio de sus participantes.

Parish Ministry Programs


Our parish formation programs, provide access to formation and theological study without rigors or expenses of a graduate degree program. Designed in close collaboration with partners at the parish and diocesan levels, these programs expand access to the development of parish leadership knowledge and skills for nearly all people.

Deacon Programs


Are you feeling called to be of service to the Church as a permanent deacon? In collaboration with the Archdiocese of Chicago we accompany those considering this important role and provide initial formation for the permanent diaconate. Click here for more information.

Online Short Courses


We have encountered many people who are looking for was to learn more about the Church, but can’t commit the time to a full program. These online short courses are ideal for going beyond typical adult faith formation courses to dig more deeply into the tradition. These videos also serve as a great resource for forming parishioners to support existing ministries.

Student Services


Are you an existing student with questions about your program and how to interact with the university? We have answers for you and if we don’t we will find them for you. Click here to learn more about support and requirements for our formation.

University of Saint Mary of the Lake Announces Graduate Student Discount for Sending Dioceses

November 7, 2023

The University of Saint Mary of the Lake (USML) is proud to announce another compelling reason for dioceses to send their seminarians to be formed at Mundelein Seminary.  In addition to our beautiful historic campus, tradition of stellar priestly formation, and world class faculty, sending dioceses can now benefit from a special discount for graduate students enrolling in the School of Parish Leadership and Evangelization (SPLE).