March 8, 2015
By Deacon Patrick Donahue
As changes continue in our parishes throughout the diocese, the need for well-trained commissioned lay ministers has perhaps never been greater.
The official kick off of the next program cycle for the Diocese of Ogdensburg’s Formation for Ministry program began March 1.
The two-year program will begin in September with classes at the following sites: St Mary’s in Canton, St Agnes in Lake Placid and St James in Carthage. Application materials have been distributed to all parishes in the diocese and are available on our diocesan web site at www.rcdony.org/formation.
With the more recent decline in the number of priests and religious providing ministry in the diocese, the need for commissioned lay ministers has steadily increased.
The Formation for Ministry program is a two-year commitment that requires all candidates to complete coursework in theology, ministry and spirituality as well as complete six workshops and two annual retreats during the course of the program.
Candidates who successfully complete the next Formation for Ministry program will be commissioned in June 2019.
The Formation for Ministry program is adding an online component for the next cycle through a partnership with the STEP program at the University of Notre Dame.
More recently the diocesan’s “envisioning process has placed a special emphasis on “building parishes with living stones.”
Bishop LaValley believes that commissioned lay ministers are important contributors to this initiative as lay Catholics answer the call to a more active ministry role in the life and the mission of the church.
The bishop said, “By virtue of our baptism, each of us has the responsibility of proclaiming what our God has done for us…. The Church is so enriched through the ministry that our commissioned lay ministers offer to their local parishes.”
The Formation for Ministry program has a rich legacy in the Diocese of Ogdensburg, and was initiated by Bishop Stanislaus J. Brzana in 1990. Since that time nearly 1200 laypersons have discerned their call to ministry and completed the program.
The two-year program includes eight courses of study in Church, Sacraments, Christology, Moral Theology. Social Justice, Spirituality and Scripture are also required courses.
Areas of ministry include Catechetical ministry, Parish Outreach ministry, Liturgical and Youth Ministry. All candidates will receive training and supervision in parish ministry during their participation in the program.
All Formation for Ministry classes are held weekly, and in the evening at selected sites.
Those interested in applying for the program should first meet with their pastors. Application forms are available in all parishes.
Bishop LaValley said, “This is an excellent means of gaining personal knowledge of our faith and of preparing to participate more fully in the faith life of the parish family. We must, no matter our age, learn more about our faith. Let us pray that more women and men will step forward and enjoy learning about the richness of our Catholic faith and commit to fuller participation in their parish through their enrollment in the Formation for Ministry Program.”
Further information about the Formation for Ministry Program is available from Deacon Patrick J. Donahue, Program Director at: 315-393-2920 Ext. 1412, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.