Formation for Ministry












The Church has always required proper preparation of those who exercise a ministry.  Both candidates for lay ecclesial ministry and ordained ministry need and deserve formation of high standards, effective methods, and comprehensive goals.  Effective formation methods address the whole person: emotions, imagination, will, heart and mind.  It is the whole person who ministers, so the whole person is the proper subject of formation.

Lay Formation Community

Human and Spiritual Formation for the lay community in the M.Div. Program at the University of Notre Dame is based on the elements and goals for formation found in Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord (USCCB, 2005).

Structurally, lay human and spiritual formation centers around weekly community formation nights, one-on-one formation meetings with the Director of Human and Spiritual Formation, regular spiritual direction, and a series of retreats and days of reflection.  Candidates are also invited to select from a menu of fine arts-based formation options to tailor and supplement their formation in any given year.

All formation in the program happens in the context of our collaborative and intentional faith community.
"Having a lay ministry formation program really aids in integrating my personal life with everything I learn and experience within and outside of the program.  It also speaks to the importance the program puts on prayer, personal relationships, and moral and spiritual growth."
-Matt Flynn '14
“I think the strongest aspect of Notre Dame’s M.Div. program is the community formation and support provided through prayer, common worship, conversation, scholarly endeavors, and ministry placements that challenges people to grow up and grow deeper as students and ministers. This is a safe place where people take care of each other allow perspectives and opinions to be jostled in a number of ways where you cannot compartmentalize work apart from faith.”
-Elizabeth Moriarty '07

Ordained Ministry Formation

For M.Div. students preparing for the ordained priesthood in the Congregation of Holy Cross and Missionaries of the Holy Spirit religious congregations, their religious orders shape and supervise their spiritual formation, although many experiences in the M.Div. program are shared by the entire student community, in keeping with the collaborative model of church leadership that embraces both ordained ministry and lay ecclesial ministry.

Prayer 1

"The Master of Divinity program has helped to form me as a professed religious and as a minister. I deeply value the chance to study and work with our lay colleagues in ministry. This presents a more realistic and holistic model of ministry for all of our futures. We are a church of ordained ministers and lay ministers, so it only makes sense that we study and work together from the beginning. It has enriched both programs (lay and seminary formation) to study and minister side by side."
Nate Farley, C.S.C.



If you have questions about our MDiv program, please contact the Administrative Assistant for MDiv Program and MA Program at 574-631-4256.