Human and Spiritual Formation

The U.S. Catholic bishops have spelled out their expectations for the formation of lay ecclesial ministers in the document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord (2005) and for ordained ministers in the document Program for Priestly Formation (5th edition). Human and Spiritual Formation in the MDiv Program at the University of Notre Dame is based on the elements and goals for formation found in these documents.


Formation for Lay Ecclesial Ministry

Human Formation seeks to develop the lay ecclesial minister's human qualities and character, fostering a healthy and well-balanced personality, for the sake of both personal growth and ministerial service. (36)

Elements of human formation include everything from self-knowledge to professional boundaries; physical health to ministerial collaboration; virtue to right relationship. (36-37)

Spiritual Formation aims to arouse and animate true hunger for holiness, desire for union with the Father through Christ in the Spirit, daily growing in love of God and neighbor in life and ministry, and the practices of prayer and spirituality that foster these attitudes and dispositions.  It promotes and strengthens that fundamental conversion that places God, and not oneself, at the center of one's life. Openness to this ongoing conversion is a prerequisite for fruitful spiritual formation. (38)


The Lay Formation Community

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 at least monthly, regular spiritual direction, and a series of retreats and days of reflection. Students 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 intentional faith community.


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