This is a three-part course of study by which lay persons are prepared and commissioned to serve their parishes by bringing Holy Communion to the sick; conducting a Liturgy of the Word, possibly with distribution of Communion, on weekdays when a priest is unavailable (or on Sunday in an emergency); and by leading parishioners in prayer at times of illness or death. In nursing homes or healthcare facilities, when no priest is available, they may also conduct a Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest.
Completion of the Lay Formation Institute (formerly Lay Ministry) is a normal prerequisite for acceptance into the Leader of Prayer program. In addition, candidates must be sponsored by their pastors. The fee is $500, which includes overnight accommodations, meals and books (the ritual books are expensive – the cost is proportionately reduced if the parish already has some of these available to the Leader of Prayer).