7 Reasons for Laypeople to Explore the UD Catholic Formation Program in Our Diocese

from the University of Dallas

A moment of silence can be a rare thing in this day and age — and a few minutes to catch your breath even rarer. Our days are full of buzzing phones, pinging social notifications, meetings and surprises — not to mention those hectic Sunday mornings tumbling into the pew just as the entrance chant begins. What if you had the opportunity to slow down? To take in that moment of silence while growing in faith, service and community?

Now, there’s a new way to do just that through a new Catholic formation program in the Diocese of Shreveport from University of Dallas for both laypeople and aspiring deacons. Here are seven reasons to explore the new program:

1) Journeying in faith with a community is always more transformational than we think. If you’re looking for a “boost” in your spiritual life, this program brings believers together to learn more about the Lord and His church. You will experience a unique level of communication among faculty and peers who support, challenge and illuminate one another at every turn.

2) You get to learn from the University of Dallas’ nationally recognized theology faculty. The professors have served on the “front lines” of ministry in leadership positions and bring their experience into their teaching, like Professor Jim McGill, an expert in applied ministry who also has 40-plus years’ experience directing adult religious education programs in parish settings.

3) If you haven’t yet undertaken a comprehensive study of your Catholic faith, now is the time. The four-year program covers a broad scope of topics, including Christian spirituality, sacred Scripture, the Catholic Church in America, the history of liturgy and bioethics.

4) Don’t worry if four years sounds like a big commitment. Aspiring deacons take all four years of formation in sequence, but laypeople can participate at their own pace. Take a course for a 10-week session and see how it goes; then, when you’re ready for more, go for it!

5) Courses are offered through an educational partnership with the University of Dallas, which brings its intellectual resources to the life of the local Church. The university consistently enjoys a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the top 10 Catholic colleges in the West and is recommended by the Cardinal Newman Guide. The university also organizes the annual Dallas Ministry Conference, which draws nearly 5,000 attendees.

6) The more you grow in knowledge of the faith, the more you’ll grow in your life of service, both personally and professionally. As Pope Francis shared in one general audience, “You may know the whole Bible, you may know all the liturgical rubrics, you may know all theology, but from this knowledge love is not automatic: loving has another path, it requires intelligence, but also something more. … There is no true worship if it is not translated into service to neighbor.”

7) Earn a Certificate of Theological Studies upon completion of the program. This continuing education certificate from the University of Dallas recognizes that you’ve worked hard and grown intellectually, spiritually and professionally —  and you’re ready for mission. Now we go together to “make disciples for all the world” (Mt. 28:19).

Interested in learning more about the Diaconate Intellectual Formation Program? Contact Deacon Clary Nash, director of the Permanent Deacon Formation Program, at 318-219-7303, or cnash@dioshpt.org. The program is open to both lay ministers and aspiring deacons. Classes start fall 2017.

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