Those who feel drawn to the lay ecclesial ministry may wonder if they are ready to begin the formation process. Susan Northway, director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Religious Education, advises those individuals to ask themselves the following questions:
Is this the right time in my life?
If an individual has a lot of family or work responsibilities, it may not be a good idea to participate in LEM formation right now. The Lord may instead be calling that person to prepare for that time in the future.
Do I have significant experience volunteering or working in a parish setting?
LEMs will be asked to fulfill a variety of responsibilities. Those who have experience in parish ministry will be more prepared to serve and will be more likely to understand the demands of the calling.
Am I physically healthy?
While much of the program is completed independently, it is nevertheless rigorous so those with health challenges may want to consider other formation opportunities.
Can I commit to the required studies?
Participants complete at least five online courses from the University of Notre Dame and will need to set aside time for individual study. LEM candidates also meet together in Salt Lake City and hear from a speaker one Saturday a month from September to May.
Is my life stable?
An individual who has unresolved marriage, family or financial issues may not be able to invest the emotional and spiritual energy needed for a successful LEM formation experience.
The application process for the next LEM program in English opened in January; applications may be found on the diocesan website, www.dioslc.org, or call Susan Northway, director of the diocesan Office of Religious Education, 801-328-8641 ext. 326.