(The Terms Lay Leader (LL) and Catholic Representative (CR) are Service-specific, and used interchangeably)
Lay Leader/Catholic Representative is a Catholic in a deploying unit chosen by a priest, trained by the priest-trainer authorized by the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) and appointed by their commanding officer (Navy)/deployed priest (Army and Air Force) to conduct a Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest when a priest is unavailable.
The Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest may be either a Liturgy of the Hours or a Liturgy of the Word, and does not include the reservation, transportation or distribution of Holy Communion.
Selection and Training:
An LL/CR must be a practicing Catholic, at least 18 years of age, in the grade of E-5 or above, baptized, confirmed, received First Communion, reverential, respectful of his/her faith and the Blessed Sacrament, of good moral character, and not in an illicit marriage. The Chancellor will not certify LLs/CRs unless a Catholic priest-chaplain assures him that a candidate fulfils these conditions and that a valid need exists at the deployed location.
A LL/CR must be a qualified person chosen and trained by an authorized priest-chaplain according to an AMS-approved training and certification program. The AMS Chancellor issues a Certificate of Authorization, which normally is valid for a maximum of one (1) year, or for the duration of the individual’s term of orders at that deployable unit – whichever comes first. A new certification is required with each new set of orders.
Only active duty Catholics approved by the AMS and holding a certified ID card may act as LL/CR. Those without a card, not trained under the new 2005 format or not re-trained within a year’s time must be re-certified by a priest-chaplain. LL/CRs are to maintain ongoing communication with their priest-chaplain for the duration of their deployment.