At the same time, it is necessary to improve pastoral structures in such a way that the co-responsibility of all the members of the People of God in their entirety is… promoted…This demands a change in mind set, particularly concerning lay people. They must no longer be viewed as "collaborators"…but truly recognized as "co-responsible", for the Church's being and action…
In 1984, under the leadership of Father Christopher DeGiovine, Denise Simeone, and Sr. Christine Partisano, CSJ, the Formation for Ministry Program (FMP) was established to provide for the holistic formation of the laity in preparation for pastoral ministries within their parishes/clusters. Later it grew and developed under the outstanding leadership of Betsy Rowe-Manning. In 2009, FMP celebrated its 25th anniversary. Bishop Hubbard led us in giving thanks to God for the nearly 1000 women and men who had gone through the program and served in so many ministries throughout every region of the diocese.
Building upon this outstanding legacy, in 2009 a process of discernment and consultation began to consider the future of lay ministry formation in the diocese. Several factors contributed to this process: the recent publication of Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord – A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; the continuing need for a well-formed and involved laity in light of the decisions of the diocesan pastoral planning process, Called to Be Church; and the request to assume the certificate for designated ministries previously administered by St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry at its Albany site.
This discernment process gave birth to The Kateri Institute for Lay Ministry Formation. Placed under the patronage of Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, daughter of our diocese and a lay minister in her day, the Institute seeks to combine the very best of both the Formation for Ministry Program and the Certificate for Designated Ministries Program.
Through its Foundations for Ministry Certificate and Leadership for Ministry Certificate tracks, the Institute remains committed to the holistic formation of participants within the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions. The Institute offers women and men the opportunity to explore how God and the community may be calling them to ministry within their parishes, deaneries, and regions of the diocese. Together with our bishop, priests, deacons and vowed religious, we live out our baptismal call to ministry and help to build up God’s Reign of justice, love, and peace in our own day.