Human and Spiritual Formation

Human and Spiritual Formation in the MDiv Program at the University of Notre Dame is based on the elements and goals for formation found Co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord. 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.


Human and Spiritual 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

We understand formation as conforming ourselves ever more closely to God. It is not only about confirming who we are, but also about risking becoming who we are not yet, and allowing others to do the same.

Structurally, lay human and spiritual formation centers around:

  • Weekly community formation nights
  • Individual personal formation plans
  • Regular one-on-one formation meetings with the Director of Human and Spiritual Formation
  • Spiritual direction
  • Programmatic retreats
  • Days of reflection during the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent
  • Peer review


Mdiv Boat2

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 community. Learning to form intentional community implicitly and explicitly capacitates us for relationship. Right relationship is essential not only to personal growth in holiness but also to ministry in, with, and for the Church.




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