Lay Spiritual Formation Program

Aquinas Institute of Theology’s Lay Spiritual Formation Program is designed to provide useful spiritual tools for knowing yourself better, and for growing more deeply in your faith and relationship with God. In addition, the program provides opportunities for building community and working more collaboratively with others through a community of peers. It also gives participants opportunities to learn and practice discernment as well as lead others in prayer.

lay formation


Who should pursue this spiritual formation program?

  • This program is required for distance-learning students enrolled in a ministerial degree program (MA in Pastoral Studies or Master of Divinity) at Aquinas Institute of Theology.
  • Others already engaged in full- or part-time ministry as employees or volunteers are highly encouraged to consider this program.
  • It is also recommended for lay associates of religious communities, volunteers, and others who wish to attain a basic foundation in spiritual formation in order to learn how to grow and deepen their personal faith-life throughout the rest of their lives.
  • A certificate of completion can be awarded to non-degree students upon completion of this program.

How long will it take me to complete this program?

Students enroll in one unit of lay spiritual formation each semester for two years; the units must be taken sequentially.

Program Requirements - Must be taken in sequence

Formation Unit Offered
I. Spiritual Maturity and Self-Awareness Fall Semesters
II. Personal Giftedness for Ministry Spring Semesters
III. The Process of Discernment Fall Semesters
IV. Choices and Challenges in Ministry Spring Semesters


Methods and Process:

Small communities – of 4-8 students meet every other week online and face to face during the semester retreat. These meetings include student-led prayer, reflection, discussion and sharing on various assigned readings and activities.

Fostering of self-reflection and self-awareness by reading and reflecting on the assigned articles/chapters every other week.

Assessment Process: Spiritual and developmental histories and psychological assessments are completed by each student during the first year of the formation program. For degree students, this must be completed prior to any participation in Supervised Practice of Ministry and the student’s application for Admission to Candidacy as a means of assessing readiness and overall suitability for ministry.

Establishment of Personal and Spiritual Formation Goals for ongoing integration and growth. Goals are reviewed and self-evaluated each semester for growth and progress.

Meeting with Formation Director at least once each semester by phone, video chat, or in person to discuss goals, progress, and any issues or concerns that need to be addressed.

For more information or to register for this program, contact Aquinas Institute of Theology's Admissons office at or 800-977-3869.