The purpose and focus of the San Juan Diego Ministry Institute is to prepare Catholics to proclaim their faith in Jesus as Lord, to teach the truths of the Catholic faith, to give witness to the spiritual tradition of the Catholic Church, and to extend to others the invitation to join in mission of the Church.
In Baptism, we are called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to all. We are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to grow in faith and love. The San Juan Diego Ministry Institute provides opportunities for human, spiritual, pastoral and intellectual formation to enable the faithful of the Rio Grande Valley to answer their Baptismal call and share their gifts. The San Juan Diego Ministry Institute provides continuing education for adults who want to learn more about their faith, become Extraordinary Ministers of Communion or lectors and for those who want to become more active in their parish or community in other capacities.
Lay Ecclesial Ministry Formation
According to United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), those called to serve the Church in a lay ministerial capacity are characterized by “authorization of the hierarchy to serve publicly in the local Church; leadership in a particular area of ministry; close mutual collaboration with the pastoral ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons;…and requires preparation and formation appropriate to the level of responsibilities that are assigned to them.” “The laity have an important role to play in the life of the Church through the exercise of different ministries according to the grace and charisms given to them by God” (Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry, 2005).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, that “Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, "that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life." For lay people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world." (CCC, 905) and that the participation of the laity is based on by virtue of their own baptism and in the threefold mission of the Lord Jesus “the faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king” (Catechism of the Catholic Church,1546).
Diocesan Formation Program for the Laity
The Lay Ministry Formation is both an academic and pastoral formation program designed for our Catholic laity interested in service to the Church as well as personal enrichment. The three-year process of prayer, reflection, education, and formation is designed to better prepare and strengthen lay persons in their faith, understanding, and skills as lay ministers in the Church.
The program is intended to assist the laity in their life-long journey of faith formation by deepening their understanding and appreciation of the teachings of the Catholic Church: Scripture, Theology and Spirituality.
The process of formation that will be provided seeks to develop their skills and abilities in order for them to become more efficacious signs of the presence of Christ among all of God’s people.
The participants in the formation program will:
- Appreciate and understand more fully that they are called and gifted for the lay apostolate by virtue of their own baptism and confirmation.
- Be affirmed and grow in competency and confidence in their present ministries to and with others: the Church, their families and in the secular world.
- Explore their own personal gifts and how those gifts may be utilized in response to their baptismal call for the good of the Church.
- Learn and grow in their Catholic faith so as to live it more faithfully.
The four areas of formation that provide the framework for the formation of deacons and priests provide a framework for lay ministers as well (Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, 30, 33, 53):
- Human– seeks to develop the minister’s qualities and character, fostering a healthy and well-balanced personality, for the sake of both personal growth and ministerial service.
- Spiritual– 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. (Openness to this ongoing conversion is a prerequisite for fruitful spiritual formation).
- Intellectual (theological) - seeks to develop the lay minister’s understanding and appreciation of the Catholic faith, which is rooted in God’s revelation and embodied in the living tradition of the Church (e.g., Scripture, Church history, liturgy and Sacraments, etc.).
- Pastoral– cultivates the knowledge, attitudes, and skills that directly pertain to effective functioning in the ministry setting and that also pertain to pastoral administration that supports direct ministry (e.g., collaboration, communication skills, leading prayer, ministry practicum experience, etc.).
Guidelines for entrance into Formation Program
- Active members in the sacramental and ministerial life of the Church.
- Able to commit fully to completing the requirements of the program including; reading assignments, group integration and practicum.
- Have the ability to communicate and collaborate with others in the Church.
- Have a desire and capacity for serving as lay leaders in the Church.
- Have a desire for renewal and growth in their ministry and their faith lives.
- Have the support of their pastor, their spouse (if not participating as a couple) and their families.
- Commit to praying at least one hour of the Liturgy of the Hours (Christian Prayer) daily as part of their prayer life.
The third year of the formation program (optional) will offer courses for those who wish to continue to a Specialized area of Ministry. The areas of Specialized Ministry include: Evangelization, Catechesis, Liturgy, RCIA Coordinators, Pastoral Care (Hospital Chaplaincy & Prison Ministry),Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Adult Faith Formation, Parish Life Coordinators, Pastoral and Finance Council, Stewardship, Christian Initiation, Family Life, Communications and Adult Faith Formation.
After the completion of the formation program, the participants will receive a Certificate of Completion and be Commissioned at a Eucharistic Celebration with Bishop Flores. The goal is for the laity who complete the program to serve their parish communities at the direction of their pastors as qualified lay ecclesial ministers.
The Lay Ministry Formation program will offer the courses in four different locations of the diocese: Brownsville, Harlingen, San Juan and Rio Grande City. The courses will be offered in both English and Spanish based on the needs of the participants and locations.
The sessions will be offered twice a month by Semester (Fall & Spring) on Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM (application process open during September and October, Orientation in November and December).
“During the eight “parish deanery listening sessions” that we had throughout the diocese in the last nine months, within which over 2,500 parishioners participated, the Catholic faithful shared with me their passion for the Faith and their love for the Church. As I listened to their concerns and hopes for the future of our diocese, among the key pastoral priorities identified was the need for the formation of our laity. “
“The ordained ministry of the priest, of course, is essential and irreplaceable. Lay Ecclesial Ministers do not replace priests or diminish them in any way, but rather assist them in building up the Body of Christ by serving the people of the parish, in collaboration with deacons, religious and lay employees and volunteers. Indeed, our clergy and religious cannot and should not carry out all the work of the Church alone”
Bishop Daniel E. Flores (Letter to the Presbyterate - Lay Ministry Formation Program, June 2013)
For more information - click Lay Ecclesial Ministry Formation Program 2014-2016
Para mas informacion -click Programa de Formacion del Ministerio Eclesial Laico 2014-16
- Bishop Daniel E. Flores (Letter to the Presbyterate - Lay Ministry Formation Program, June 2013)
- Lay Ecclesial Ministry Formation Program 2017-2018
- Programa de Formacion del Ministerio Eclesial Laico 2017-2018