The following comes from a January 20 Angelus article by Clara Fox:

During a January 17 Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, seven pastoral associates were formally commissioned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, to serve side by side with parish pastors in leading RCIA classes, Scripture studies and other faith formation programs.

Archbishop José H. Gomez thanked the pastoral associates for their “generous response to the spirit” and presented each one with a certificate to mark the milestone moment.

The commissioned men and women have spent years in preparation for this responsibility. Each pastoral associate is required to hold a Master’s degree in theology or religious studies, and to work towards the position through prayer, formation and training.

Katherine Enright, director of the archdiocesan Office of Parish Life, said the program began after the Church recognized there was a shortage of priests.

“There still is a great need for lay leadership,” she added, calling the program a “wonderful way to bring women into the heart of the Church.”