Father Brandon Schneider, parochial vicar of Our Lady of the Valley Parish based in Bethel, Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Randolph and St. John the Evangelist Parish in Northfield, visited the Diocesan Lay Formation Program recently at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe.

After celebrating Mass, the newly ordained priest offered “First Priestly Blessings” to the students.

The Diocese of Burlington offers a two-year Lay Formation Leadership Program under the Institute for Missionary Discipleship.

Rationale and Mission;

The lay formation program, as part of the Institute for Missionary Discipleship, seeks to form laity to assist in leadership roles in their parishes. These include serving as RCIA leaders and directors of religious education, facilitating marriage preparation, leading evangelization efforts and facilitating the Church’s charitable outreach. Key to this formation is inspiring and equipping the laity to serve and evangelize their parishes and communities as missionary disciples.

Aims of the Program:

to provide enrichment for those who seek adult formation in their Catholic faith by providing a firm and practical foundation in scripture, liturgy and sacraments.

to call forth, affirm and support the gifts and talents of participants who want to glorify God and serve God’s holy people by fostering a deeper appreciation of the baptismal call of the faithful to service in the Church.

to provide education, training and support for those called by the pastor, in consultation with the parish staff and parish council, to service apostolates through continued studies and practical formation.

to nurture participants’ spiritual growth and fidelity to the Church and to help them to reflect prayerfully and critically on their own experiences in ministry and deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ especially through the Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, prayer and the Liturgy of the Hours.

to develop an awareness, appreciation and respect for the diversity and complementarity of vocations and states of life, of ministries, of charisms and of responsibilities within the Church.

For more information, go to