According to a new report by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), the importance of lay ecclesial ministers to the life and work of the Church in the United States of the Church in the United States is illustrated by the fact that nearly 40,000 are currently ministering in parishes nationwide. Of that number, two-thirds are women and sixtyone percent are in their forties or fifties. Thirty percent in under the age of 40. In 2016-2017 CARA identified 202 active lay ecclesial ministry formation programs. The number enrolled in degree and certificate programs for 2016-2017 is 19,969. Of that number, 75% are working toward a certificate in ministry and 25% are working toward a graduate degree. The total number of enrollees represents a 16 percent decrease from the previous year. CARA urges that the church understand the importance of parish ministers having access to the best possible academic preparation and personal formation. (The CARA Report, Vol. 23 No. 1)