Lay Movements and Organizations
“Lay Associations, Ecclesial Movements, and New Communities have a genuinely ecclesial mission. They live out and make fruitful those charisms that the Holy Spirit, through their founders, granted to all the members of their groups, to the benefit of the Church and of the many men and women to whom they dedicate themselves in the apostolate, especially of those who, finding themselves in the existential peripheries of our societies, experience abandonment and solitude in their own flesh, and suffer as a result of their many material needs and of moral and spiritual poverty.” – Pope Francis, September 16, 2021
Lay Movements and Organizations in the Archdiocese of Washington*
Association of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities
A group of representatives of movements recognized by the Roman Catholic Church and present in The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. Its mission is to pray, reflect, and discern new ways in which the member movements and communities can respond, using its members’ unique gifts and charisms to respond to the call for evangelization.
African Catholic Association
An association of Catholic communities of African descent dedicated to promoting awareness of the presence of African Catholics and their respective heritage and cultures in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, as we live our faith and contribute our bit in building and growing the Church.
Ancient Order of Hibernians
The oldest Irish Catholic fraternal organization in the United States, founded in 1836. They promote the Catholic faith, Irish culture, history and music. They support charities in the United States and Ireland. There are active divisions in Washington D.C and surrounding counties.
Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women
Supports, empowers and educates women in spirituality, leadership and service with programs that respond with Gospel values to the needs of the Church and society in the modern world. Since 2018, the Council has hosted a nightly Rosary phone call for the healing of the Church and for callers’ personal intentions.
Bukas Loob sa Diyos (Open in Spirit to God)
The BLD Catholic Charismatic Covenant Community started in June 1985 in Manila, Philippines, which is now the center of its international organization. They are a community of disciples inspired by the Holy Spirit to be living witnesses for transformation in Christ to bring about a world of justice, human development, and true peace. They are called by the Lord to build communities of disciples of Jesus Christ who, by the Holy Spirit, will renew, and strengthen the Christian faith through programs of christian encounter, spiritual growth, pastoral care and poverty alleviation.
Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (KAPATIRAN)
A Catholic organization founded 41 years ago in the Philippines with the vision of bringing Christ into the marketplace and winning the marketplace for Christ.
Catholic Business Network
Affiliated organizations of businesswomen and men who strive to apply the principles of the Catholic faith in the marketplace. Community outreach includes scholarships and grants to Catholic schools. There are active groups in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County.
Catholic Charismatic Renewal
Catholic Charismatic Renewal through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, provides activities, retreats, and workshops to increase the spiritual growth and integrate Hispanic families within the Catholic Christian community.
Catholic Daughters of the Americas
Charitable, educational, and social organization of Catholic women 18 years of age and older.
Catholic Engaged Encounter
Engaged Encounter Weekend offers couples a unique opportunity to look at their commitment to each other in a deeper way as they prepare for marriage.
CEBs San Camilo
Twenty-six small ecclesial communities that meet weekly at homes to reflect the Word of God, share experiences of their lives and faith, and find ways to bring the Gospel to their realities. Every summer they organize a door-to-door mission around the St. Camillus church neighborhood and Langley Park.
Christ Child Society
The Christ Child Society is a nonprofit volunteer and member organization serving the material, educational and emotional needs of children regardless of race or creed.
Christian Family Movement / Movimiento Familiar Cristiano
The Christian Family Movement equips families to intentionally address the challenges of modern society, to grow in holiness, and to bring the light of Christ into the world. The primary objective is the Christian formation of its members through repeated small acts of service and the constant effort to extend one’s influence. CFM members are empowered to transform their good intentions into actions.
Communion and Liberation
An international movement started in 1954 in Italy that forms its members as adults in the Christian faith who seek Christ in each moment of daily life. Members participate in what is referred to as School of Community, a small group style meeting where they reflect on a reading, discuss questions, and strive to find out what Christ wants to do in their lives in a concrete way.
Couples for Christ
A movement that renews and strengthens Christian family life. Since its founding in 1981, CFC has established communities in more than 120 countries with active membership of nearly one million worldwide. There are four local chapters – East Maryland (Laurel), West Maryland (Silver Spring), South Maryland (Oxon Hill) and DC. They hold weekly household meetings, monthly chapter assemblies and teachings, evangelization through eight-week Christian Life Programs, and marriage enrichment retreats.
Crusaders of Mary
A Secular Institute of Pontifical Right committed to the new evangelization by pursuing the holistic education of young people. Their mission is to evangelize through an incisive presence in all the secular realities though the families, education, culture and work. Based in the Brookland neighborhood, they offer monthly silent retreats, Ignatian spiritual exercises, and spiritual direction to young ladies.
The Cursillo is a movement that promotes the spiritual revitalization of our world. It has the same apostolic purpose as the Church herself – to evangelize. The movement builds up leaders in the work of Christian renewal with the support of Christian community. There are both English and Spanish speaking groups in the archdiocese.
Families in Christ Jesus Community
A federation of Catholic Christian Communities that believe in the urgent need to respond to God’s call to proclaim and defend the Gospel on the family. They establish prayer group communities, provide Christian formation, and strengthen relationships with pastors, parishes and the Church.
A Gospel-based ecclesial movement for spiritual and social renewal committed to building fraternal relationships among individuals, peoples, religions and cultures by engaging in dialogue. Focolare Movement’s Women’s Center is located in Bethesda and hosts gatherings for children, teens, young adults and families. Within the community, there are groups that speak Spanish, Filipino, and Korean. The movement actively commits to helping the marginalized, immigrants and the poor.
Friends of John Paul II Foundation, Inc.
Established by Papal Decree in 1981 as a religious, educational, charitable and non-profit organization in response to the historic election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to head the See of Peter. Its purpose is to support and implement initiatives of a scholarly, cultural, religious and charitable nature associated with the pontificate of John Paul II.
John Carroll Society
An organization of Catholic professionals united in their desire for an ever deepening and enriching knowledge of their faith and in service to the Archbishop of Washington. Named after the first U.S. Catholic bishop, it facilitates the enhancement of spiritual, intellectual and social fellowship among its members. JCS sponsors the Red Mass and the Rose Mass in addition to hosting various speakers and events.
Knights of Columbus
Founded on the principles of charity, unity and fraternity, the Knights of Columbus was established in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney and a group of parishioners to bring financial aid and assistance to the sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted through educational, charitable, religious, and social welfare works. There are councils at parishes and on college campuses throughout the District of Columbia and Maryland.
Knights of St. Jerome
The oldest Catholic fraternal organization in the Archdiocese of Washington was originally founded by Jesuit Fathers in St. Mary’s County around 1874 as the St. Inigoes Beneficial Society. Membership is open to all Catholics 16 years of age or older.
Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary
An international fraternal service order founded in 1909 by the Josephites and parishioners from Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Mobile, Alabama. It is the largest and oldest Black Catholic lay-led organization still in existence. The objectives of the organization stem from the work of St. Peter Claver and include promoting civic and social justice, contributing to charity, awarding scholarships, and nurturing relationships with the community, youth, and family.
Ladies of Charity
Members strive “to serve rather than be served,” all those encountered with humility, simplicity and charity. They have been serving the underprivileged and disenfranchised in the community for more than 50 years. Activities include visiting the sick and elderly, operating food pantries, coordinating blood drives, making food for homeless shelters, giving Christmas gifts to families in need, and providing layette items to crisis pregnancy centers.
Lay Carmelite Community
A lay branch of the Carmelite Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel focused on living their baptismal promises through the Carmelite charism of prayer, community, and service to others. Members go through a six-year formation and discernment before making a lifetime promise. Ongoing formation continues at monthly community meetings.
Legion of Mary
Drawing its inspiration from the True Devotion to Mary as taught by St. Louis Marie de Montfort, the Legion’s purpose is to give glory to God through the sanctification of its members. Members participate in the life of the parish through visiting the sick, visiting with families, and through collaboration in every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by the parish. Every legionary is required to carry out a weekly apostolic work in the spirit of faith and in union with Mary.
L’Arche Greater Washington
A community of people with and without intellectual disabilities, sharing life in communities belonging to an International Federation. Their mission is to make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities, to foster an environment in community that responds to the changing needs of their members, and to engage in our diverse cultures, working together toward a more human society. In their four homes, two in DC and two in Arlington, they eat, play, learn, laugh, grieve, and pray together. They do with and not for – growing and supporting one another in a mutually transformative way.
One of the oldest ecclesial communities in North America, comprised of laymen, laywomen and priests under promises of poverty, chastity and obedience. Their work is to pray for the Church, especially for the Holy Father, the local bishop, the Church in the archdiocese, and for the government and all who serve in it, particularly those serving on Capitol Hill. They also provide prayer rooms for others to pray and fast for 24 hours in silence and solitude; and they offer hospitality for people who wish to come and visit or talk.
Misioneros Laicos Franciscanos
A Community of Franciscan lay missionaries called to live the Gospel and bring the Good News to all creation. Their mission is to serve God as instruments of peace and love in the church. Every month they embark on local missions, bringing prepared food, clothing, and a missionary rosary to day laborers in the city.
Missionary Families of Christ
An evangelistic and missionary community committed to become families empowered by the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth. Activities include outreach, seminars and retreats. Members are grouped into households made up of 4-7 families meeting weekly in their homes.
Mother of God Community
A Catholic and ecumenical, charismatic community that ponders and proclaims that Jesus Christ is Lord and that shares a deep spiritual, transforming experience of the love of God. Ministries include sponsoring weekly praise and worship gatherings, Life in the Spirit seminars, small fellowship groups, youth group, homeschooling ministry, conferences, and the Mother of God School. The campus with a school and residential facility is located in Gaithersburg across from Saint John Neumann Catholic Church, where most Community members actively participate.
Movimiento Juan XXIII
An international association of lay faithful founded in Puerto Rico as an evangelization movement working to reach those far from the Church and marginalized from society. For the fulfillment of this mission, the Movement has its own mystique characterized by a spirituality of authentic service, dedication and sacrifice and expressed through the motto “With Christ Everything, Without Christ Nothing.”
Order of Malta
A lay religious order founded in 1099 with the motto tuition fidei obsequium pauperum — to defend the faith and serve the poor. Members are involved in spiritual activities and hands-on personal service projects, including providing direct service to the sick and to the poor.
Regnum Christi (“Kingdom of Christ”) has a Christ-Centered spirituality that is lived together in communion with all four vocations, in union with the whole Church, and through a mission to build the kingdom of Christ. In the Archdiocese of Washington, they offer a wide range of programs for spiritual enrichment of families and married couples at Our Lady of Bethesda.
Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement
A Catholic Marian movement that strives to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ after the example of the Blessed Mother. As a movement of renewal, Schoenstatt works to help revitalize the Church and society in the spirit of the Gospel. Its members seek to connect faith with daily life, especially through a deep love for Mary, the Mother of God. It has expanded to every continent and has members from all vocations and walks of life.
An international educational movement of Pontifical Right created by chirograph by Pope Francis. The mission of Scholas is to answer the call to create a culture of encounter and bring young people together in an education that generates meaning. The organization is present in 190 countries, integrating more than 400,000 educational centers and reaching more than one million children and youth worldwide.
Secular Franciscan Order
Established by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago, the order encourages members to bring the Gospel to life where they live and where they work. They look for ways to embrace the Gospel in their lives and try to help others to do likewise.
Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites
An association of the faithful who undertake the pursuit of evangelical perfection in the world. Inspired and nourished by the spirituality and guidance of the Discalced Carmelites. Their primary apostolate is to pray for priests and to be of service to the Church. There are four communities in the Archdiocese of Washington: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Joseph, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, and Korean Community of St. Teresa of Jesus.
Sisters in the Spirit
A faith-filled ministry made up of women of color, promoting Catholic principles and a positive self-image in the family, the Church, African and African American communities, and the larger community. They provide a network of Catholic Women of Color who share the African American Catholic Heritage and tradition through: programs that enlighten, develop, and strengthen their faith; compassion and service for those with spiritual, social or economic needs; and striving to be a positive spiritual light and evangelizing force in the world.
Consisting of about 67 affiliate parish Sodalities, members aim to love and serve Jesus through Mary and to achieve spiritual growth and depth using the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The Sodality Union provides a medium for cooperation among Sodality groups to meet common goals of service to God, Church and community.
St. Catherine Society for Women
A group of single Catholic young adult women supporting each other in living the faith. Members are dedicated to daily prayer, weekday Mass when feasible, spiritual reading, living a moral life, Christian hospitality and service, and having good, clean fun!
St. Francis de Sales Association
A spiritual family made up of lay Catholics – single, married, or widowed – who choose to live their lives grounded in the Gospel and according to Salesian teachings and virtues. Their motto is “Love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
Talleres de Oracion y Vida
The Prayer and Life Workshops are an International Private Association with Pontifical right whose mission is to teach tools designed by its founder, Father Ignacio Larrañaga, to face life in the light of faith, to meditate on the Word and to deepen prayer.
Teams of Our Lady
An international lay movement designed to enrich marriage spirituality and to make good marriages better. Teams provide a proven method of increasing and improving prayer life, which will help couples grow closer to God and each other. The team becomes a close community that can inspire one another through their living examples of faith and share with one another their struggles and successes on their way to holiness.
The Houses of Adoration
Members bring the Love of Jesus – Eucharist to the world through a ministry of visitation and prayer performed in the simplicity of everyday life. They serve in various capacities including as Eucharistic Ministers, adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, promoters of Adoration, and by visiting the sick or anyone who needs comfort and prayers.
Tira la Red
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal’s local youth initiative, working to evangelize youth to have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ.
World Apostolate of Fatima – Our Lady’s Blue Army
The Church’s official voice on the authentic message of Fatima, the apostolate exists to help others learn, live and spread the message of Our Lady of Fatima in communion with the Church and in concert with the New Evangelization. The movement promotes praying the rosary daily, wearing of the scapular and attending daily Mass. They meet locally on the fourth Sunday of each month at St. Catherine Labouré in Wheaton.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter
An enrichment program for married couples who value their relationship and desire a richer, fuller life together. It also provides support to priests and religious who want to strengthen their relationships with their church communities. The mission of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is to proclaim the value of Marriage and Holy Orders in the Church and in the world.
Youth Leadership Foundation
A ministry of Opus Dei that provides academic enrichment and character development for local elementary school students who have great potential but lack motivation through their Program for Academic & Leadership Skills and the Tenley Achievement Program.
* The lay movements, ecclesial organizations, and communities listed on this page are very important evangelizing agents of the Church; however, they are not affiliated with The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. They are listed here for reference only and any communications, positions, or opinions expressed or held by any of these organizations represent solely the views of the respective organization and not the Archdiocese.