Archdiocese of Liverpool Lay Formation Fund explained

By Veronica Murphy

‘There is a variety of skills, but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.’ (1 Corinthians 12:4-7.)

In calling us to embark on the journey to Synod 2020, Archbishop Malcolm reminded us of the need for all the baptised to be willing to reflect prayerfully on how we could use our gifts for the wider community as we strive to become the Church that God wants us to be.

Pope Francis has consistently called us to focus more and more on becoming a Missionary Church, looking outwards to discern the needs of our local and global communities and becoming a people that listens and accompanies on the path to holiness. If this is to become a reality, then diverse opportunities to grow in the love and knowledge of God and to be formed in the ways of discipleship and mission must be provided. Many such opportunities already exist, and many lay people have already received such formation, generously answering God's call to develop their faith in ways appropriate to adult Catholics in the 21st century.

The Lay Formation Fund is a new initiative to enable all who have discerned this call to grow and develop in their faith in order to better serve their communities, to receive financial support. The Fund can be used to provide faith formation at a variety of levels, or for the development of practical skills. Grants will usually be given on a matched funding basis (with a sponsoring parish or organisation paying half), although consideration will be given for full funding where local parish finance is difficult. The Archdiocese is particularly looking to develop lay ministry and leadership and would be keen to support people seeking to develop their faith and skills in this area. For more information about any aspect of the Fund, please contact the Pastoral Formation Department on 0151 522 1040.

Who is eligible for support? Any adult (aged 18+) living in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, involved in the local church community in any aspect of ministry, and wishing to further deepen their knowledge of religious formation and education, to educate others or to extend their practical skills, is eligible to apply for support from the Lay Formation Fund. Some of the courses which would be acceptable include:

• The Archdiocesan Diploma in Pastoral Ministry and Leadership or the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry awarded by Loyola University Chicago

• Residential courses to further develop knowledge and skills in particular aspects of ministry and leadership, e.g. Scripture
• Courses that will benefit the parish (such as book-keeping or flower arranging) from a local adult education service

• New local adult formation initiatives

Each year the administrators of the Lay Formation Fund will also identify emerging priorities, will be proactive in finding the appropriate people to respond to these priorities and will assess appropriate funding. Applicants must have the support of their parish priest, area dean or another diocesan priest known to them before applying. In addition to the application form, you must also include:

1. A letter of support from the applicant’s parish priest, area dean or a priest known to the applicant

2. Proof of costs, which may include training fees, necessary travel, accommodation and/or reading materials

Applications will be assessed every six months and eligibility will depend on the applicant fulfilling the necessary criteria. There is a fixed amount in the Fund for each year, and once this has been allocated it may not be possible to give further grants until the following year.

The application committee will be responsible for reviewing applications and allocating funds. Their decision is final. The committee will contact applicants with the outcome shortly after each meeting.