The mission of the Lay Formation Institute, or LFI (formerly Lay Ministry), is to help lay men and women to deepen their knowledge of the Faith and develop their pastoral abilities, so that they may answer with confidence the call of the Second Vatican Council to spread the Gospel in word and deed, acting as a leaven in their parishes and in the world. This is all the more vital if they serve the Church in some official capacity.
Attention School Teachers, DRE’s, CRE’s, Youth Ministers & Catechists:This Program Qualifies for Advanced Certification
Catholic Life Articles
Gathering the seeds
Mike Horgan’s journey to the diaconate It wasn’t until he began his formation for the diaconate that Michael Horgan began to notice all of the “seeds” that had been planted throughout his life that put him on the path toward ordination. The people, experiences and moments that seemed happenstance all began to fit together and […]
What is a Deacon’s role at Mass?
Since Pope Paul VI approved the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the United States in 1968, we are much more likely to encounter a deacon. But many of us did not grow up with a deacon at our parish, and there is sometimes confusion as to his role, especially in the sacred Liturgy. And […]
Celebrating Rural Life Day
Recognizing farms from the Wausau Deanery The 37th annual Diocesan Rural Life Day celebration was hosted September 14 on the farm of Mike and Sue Fischer of St. Florian Parish in Hatley. This event is held each year, rotated between deaneries within the Diocese, to celebrate our connection to rural life and honor those who […]
Commissioning of the Leaders of Prayer
On Aug 26,2017, Bishop William Patrick Callahan commissioned 21 new leaders of prayer for the Diocese of La Crosse. This is a three-part course of study by which lay persons are prepared and commissioned to serve their parishes by bringing Holy Communion to the sick; conducting a Liturgy of the Word, possibly with distribution of […]
Graduates of the Lay Formation Institute 2017
Twenty-one new graduates of the diocesan Lay Formation Institute (LFI) were commissioned on June 3, 2017. The two-year LFI energizes lay leadership in our parishes, drawing participants closer to Christ and his Church, deepening their knowledge of the faith, and forming them as joyful disciples. Front row (left to right): Veronica Steines-Machtan, Patricia Anderson, Jane […]
The program consists of classes that meet one weekend per month (Friday evening to Saturday evening), September through May, for two years at St. Anthony’s Retreat Center in Marathon. A new cycle is begun every two years. The curriculum covers such areas as:
- Introduction to the Liturgy of the Hours
- Sacred Scripture
- The Profession of Faith
- Liturgy and Sacraments
- Life in Christ: Christian Morality
- Spirituality and Prayer
- The Church
- Vocations of the Laity
- Vatican II
- Catholic Social Teaching
- Introduction to Catechesis and Evangelization
- Ministry in a Multicultural Church
- Reaching Inactive Catholics
- Outreach to the Poor and Suffering
- Introduction to Marriage and Family Ministry
- Overview of Youth Ministry
At the end of the two-year cycle, a “Leadership in Christ” weekend is devoted to specialized tracks focusing in more depth on areas of practical, pastoral service. Each participant is invited to select among these tracks, which include such areas as:
- Catechesis and Evangelization
- Adult Faith Formation
- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
- Pastoral Care of Marriage and the Family
- Liturgical Ministry
- Catholic Social Action
- Youth Ministry
- Jail Ministry
Registration for the “Leadership in Christ” weekend is also open to diocesan catechists and directors of religious education, because the presentations can benefit them as well.
Please note that completion of the Lay Formation Institute is a normal prerequisite for diocesan Leader of Prayer training. A significant number of LFI graduates go on to become Leaders of Prayer for their parishes.
Spiritual and Community Formation
The goal of the Lay Formation Institute is to address not only the academic and practical formation of its participants, but their spiritual and community formation as well. For this reason, the program includes:
- Morning Mass on all the Saturdays, with LFI students assisting in the liturgies (Christopher Carstens, Director of the Office of Sacred Worship, is present each weekend to assist with liturgical formation).
- Liturgy of the Hours prayed each morning and evening on the weekends
- Other devotions
- Shared meals and social time
Periodic continuing education seminars are offered to LFI graduates within the Diocese. They are also encouraged to continue their personal development with the help of a spiritual director and participation in retreats.
Candidates may apply from any parish or religious institution of the Diocese of La Crosse (with a maximum of three from any one parish). A candidate must be a practicing Catholic and be recommended by his or her pastor. Participants typically are sponsored by their parishes in exchange for a commitment to provide service to the parish. The cost for the Lay Formation Institute is $1200 per person per year, which covers all tuition, books, overnight accommodations and meals*.
How to Apply
Anyone interested in enrolling in the Lay Formation Institute should speak first with their pastor. They may then call the Office of Ministries at 608-791-0161 or send an email. Feel free to contact the Office of Ministries with any questions. Please note that space in the Lay Formation Institute is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The next two-year cycle will begin in the fall of 2017.
2017 LFI Brochure
2017 Lay Formation Application (Class is currently full)
LFI Participant Comments:
“The Mass has come alive for me. My parish family is closer to my heart, and I have a much deeper appreciation of the sacraments…. I can become so impassioned. So much has ‘fallen into place’ that I now feel comfortable discussing and sharing my faith confidently.” – Catechist, Parish Religious Education
“How abundant our faith, how merciful my God! It’s like I’ve been in a dark room and someone lit a match. The match lit a candle—I look forward to the electricity to see the whole room! Thank you, thank you, to all who are taking the time to teach me.” – RCIA and Adult Education Team Member, Parish Deanery Representative for Justice and Peace
*Each year, the gifts of many to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal in the Diocese of La Crosse help support the Lay Formation Institute, keeping tuition costs modest for both parishes and individuals.