Ecclesia Certification Course

at Mount Saint Mary’s University

Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations: A Catholic Ministry

If you consider becoming a Parish Ecumenical & Interfaith Representative (PEIR), or if you are simply interested in learning more about Ecumenical & Interreligious relations, there is a unique opportunity in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to do so.

In collaboration with Mount Saint Mary’s University, the Archdiocesan Officer for Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs, Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith, has been offering a Certification Course entitled “Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations: A Catholic Ministry”. This course is taught one Saturday a month for seven months, from 9 am – 4 pm at the downtown campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University.

The course explores how to broaden and deepen the Catholic ministry of ecumenical and interreligious relations as individuals, parish communities, and as a Church. It examines the history of Catholicism within the wider Christian world (ecumenism), and Catholic relations with non-Christians (interreligious affairs), looking at a shared, complex history through a variety of lenses.

The program includes field trips to houses of worship, such as an Orthodox Church, Synagogue, Buddhist Temple and Mosque. At each of these field trips, there is an opportunity to meet and speak with a representative of said house of worship or religion, such as a Rabbi or a Buddhist Monastic. This course thus offers a combination of classroom study and immersive experiences with other faith traditions.

In order to obtain the Certification, assigned reading and reflection papers on each class topic are required, in addition to attending the monthly Saturday sessions.

If no certification is desired and the program is attended for personal growth only, the reflection papers are not required.

In addition, this program is open to anyone, including non-Catholic participants who would like to learn more about the Catholic tradition and its approach to other faith traditions. Also, it is not limited to residents within our own Archdiocese. Prior participants have come from as far as Orange County.

Tuition for the course varies from year to year and is set by Mount Saint Mary’s University. It has previously been around $600.

Please note that the program is currently on hold due to the pandemic. 

If you are interested in upcoming course dates or have questions about the course experience please contact

Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith
Ecumenical & Interreligious Officer of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles


Sandra Bossi
Volunteer Assistant to Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith