Lay Ministry Formation Program celebrates first anniversary

Last Sunday afternoon, the Lay Ministry Formation Program (LMFP) celebrated its one-year anniversary since the initiation of this academic/formational initiative with a Eucharistic liturgy at Holy Saviour Church in Westmont with Bishop Joseph Galante serving as main celebrant

Nearly 200 LMFP students and their family members came together to give thanks for the blessings and gifts experienced through this program. The LMFP is a major initiative to help laity from across the diocese who are already engaged in or planning to participate in parish work to obtain the educational credentials specific to their area of ministry.

With the inception of the LMFP in January 2009, there are 317 persons enrolled in various formational programs. Without question, parishes are taking seriously the responsibility to implement the Lay Ministry Formation Pastoral Priority.

During his homily, Bishop Galante reinforced the importance of the LMFP. “It is through the LMFP and specifically the students who participate in this program who ultimately will make the parish reconfigurations across the diocese successful. By placing well trained ministers in the local parish setting, vibrant church communities will emerge and thrive. It is this program, the LMFP, that is training our ministers for this task moving forward.”

After the liturgy, participants enjoyed a wine and cheese reception where they could socialize with fellow students and have family members share in hearing some of the wonderful experiences they realized over the past year.

To summarize the nature of this celebratory liturgy and the many comments received during the reception, Kathy Emrich, a student in the Georgian Court University graduate program, said, “I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for the LMFP celebratory liturgy and reception this afternoon. It was a truly beautiful Mass and my husband and I really enjoyed the opportunity to give thanks, celebrate and share with all the wonderful people we’ve met through the program. Bishop Galante’s presence was inspiring and his homily touched my heart.

“I feel very blessed to be a part of the Lay Ministry Formation Program and I am looking forward to serving the diocese and the Church in the future. Thank you for all that you do and for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful program,” she said.

The LMFP offers college and university degree and certificate courses for parish leaders and staff in the diocese who serve in various pastoral ministries, including religious education, youth and young adult ministry, adult faith formation, Hispanic and Black Catholic ministry, parish life, family life, ministry to seniors, and liturgy. Programs are also offered for lay persons involved in pastoral administration, Catholic schools, and parish business management.

The diocese is working in partnership with the College of St. Elizabeth (Morristown, NJ), Georgian Court University (Lakewood, NJ), the Center for Ministry Development (Naugatuck Conn.), the Northeast Hispanic Catholic Center (New York, NY), St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (Philadelphia, Pa.), Neumann University (Aston, Pa.) and University of Dayton (Dayton, Ohio).

Any individual interested in registering for the LMFP or wanting to obtain more information regarding the program or different academic formational opportunities, they should contact Kevin Connor, Director of Lay Ministry Formation at kevin.connor@camdendiocese.org or 856-583-6122.

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