The Lay Ministry Formation Program currently addresses formation issues in the areas of community, spiritual and professional development in the following ways:
Overnight orientation gathering in August. In the week before the formal orientation for the M.Div. Program, all Lay Ministry Formation Program students gather for an overnight to pray and eat together, greet new students, and introduce everyone to the programming and expectations for the year ahead.
Weekly Meeting. The Lay Ministry Formation Program meets every Monday for an evening that includes prayer, dinner and a program. The program is our time for formal input and discussion of spiritual and professional issues. Sample topics include: transition, elements of communal prayer, discernment, the job search, methods of prayer (e.g. lectio divina), and reflecting on the liturgical seasons. This weekly meeting also serves as an important time for communication within the group.
Individual meetings with the Lay Ministry Formation Program director. Each student meets at least once a semester and often more than that to discuss personal formation issues.
Spiritual Direction. Spiritual direction is an essential and required element of the Formation process. To this end, the Lay Ministry Formation Director provides programming in what to expect in spiritual direction, methods of personal prayer, different spiritual traditions, and a list of names of people who have agreed to serve as spiritual directors.
Retreats. Every student is encouraged to make a yearly, personal, directed retreat. The program provides a resource file with information about local retreat houses.
Professional development resources. The program provides recommended resources for professional opportunities for its students. This includes CPE program lists, national and local conventions in the areas of religious education and other church related ministries, alumni job contacts and diocesan profiles for lay ministry opportunities.
End of year Blessing and Sending prayer service. Students prepare a prayer service for the graduating students as a way of thanking God for their presence among us and asking God for blessings in the future.
Another aspect of the Lay Ministry Formation Program includes programs held jointly with seminarians. These include:
Joint Formation Sessions. Once each semester, the two formation communities gather for a shared evening including Eucharist, supper, and a program (a speaker and/or reading, followed by discussion).
Student initiated prayer/social gatherings. The students often initiate common prayer and social gatherings. This gives students a chance to pray, eat and spend time together away from the classroom.
Workshops. At least once per semester, the program sponsor a workshops or speaker whose expertise enhances the formation of seminarians and lay students alike.