Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Ministerial Development Center do?

Through the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, a program of spiritual formation & education, the Ministerial Development Center offers foundational courses for those who would like to enrich their understanding of the Catholic faith, deepen their own spiritual life, become involved in parish or Archdiocesan ministries, enhance their current involvement and understanding of ministry in the Church and in the world.

The Christian Foundations for Ministry program is accredited by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Commission on Certification and Accreditation.

How does the Christian Foundations for Ministry program operate?

Christian Foundations for Ministry is a three-year spiritual formation and education process conducted by the Archdiocese of Newark. It provides foundational courses in Catholic theology, spirituality, scripture, sacraments, evangelization, and ministerial skill development. Courses are offered in eight week cycles in the Fall, Winter and Spring. Groups meet once a week for a period of two hours. Each cycle includes a day of retreat on a Saturday or Sunday.

The program is tailored to the needs of today's active lay person. It is flexible; it is manageable as far as time and distance are concerned. Formation Centers are conveniently located at various parish sites throughout the Archdiocese. There are nine different courses offered over a three-year period.

Courses are offered in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

A Certificate of Completion is awarded after each course. To complete the program, all nine courses must be taken. Those who complete the program are recognized in a prayer service and a rite of commissioning.

What courses are offered in the Christian Foundations for Ministry program?

The following courses are offered each year in the Christian Foundations for Ministry program.


The call to discipleship in the community of Jesus Christ invites each of us to a personal relationship with God whom we experience, celebrate and proclaim in the Scriptures, in the Sacraments and in our everyday lives.

Fall Cycle: The Old Testament and Spirituality: Israel's Journey/Our Journey

Winter Cycle: The Gospel and Spirituality: Christ's Journey/Our Journey

Spring Cycle: The Sacraments: Experiencing God's Presence


A Christian is baptized into community and grows to maturity in faith by coming to understand better the commitment inherent in the gift.

Fall Cycle: The Church: Journeying in Community

Winter Cycle: The Year of the Lord: Living the Paschal Mystery in the Liturgical Cycle

Spring Cycle: Christian Living: Meeting the Moral Demands of Discipleship


The community of Disciples in Jesus' day and in our times exists for mission. The various ministries of the Church and the Christian life are ways to witness and serve the Church and the world in the Spirit of Jesus.

Fall Cycle: Spirituality and Ministry: Responding to the Signs of the Times

Winter Cycle: A Ministerial Community: Evangelizing and Becoming Evangelized

Spring Cycle: Collaborative Ministry: Sharing Responsibility in the Community

Must I take all of the courses over the three year period, or may I register for specific courses?

You may register for specific courses; however, it is recommended that you complete the program if at all possible. For a listing of the courses given at a specific time and the location of the Centers, call the Ministerial Development Center, (973) 497-4350.

How do I know that the Christian Foundations for Ministry program is a good program that it is authentic?

Christian Foundations for Ministry has been studied and evaluated by the United States Catholic Conference. The Committee on Certification and Accreditation has granted Candidacy Accreditation to the program. The evaluating committee stated, "The beauty of the program is that it reflects and incorporates the economic and ethnic realities of the Archdiocese. The program is tailor made for the life of the communities of Newark."

The program is recommended and listed in the Directory of the United States Catholic Conference Commission on Certification and Accreditation and also in the Catholic Ministry Formation Directory published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University.

How do I go about registering for the Christian Foundations for Ministry program?

Registration is as simple as calling the Ministerial Development Center, (973) 497-4350, for a brochure giving information about the program and listing the various Formation Centers. Select the Formation Center that is most convenient for you. Registration takes place at the Formation Center the first session of class. If you continue in the program, a letter of recommendation from your pastor is required.

How are Formation Centers selected and set up?

The pastor of a parish invites the Ministerial Development Center to set up a Christian Foundations for Ministry Center at his parish. A member of the parish staff who is qualified is welcome to be the instructor of the group if he/she would like to do this. If not, the Ministerial Development Center will provide a qualified instructor.

How does this program relate to the recent Archdiocesan Synod?

The Christian Foundations for Ministry program directly responds to the Number 1 priority and recommendation of the recent Archdiocesan Synod: the development of lay leadership in the Church of Newark. The program is tailored to the needs of today's active lay person who wants to be involved in ministry in the Church and in the world.

About how many people participate in the Christian Foundations for Ministry program?

There are presently about 350 persons taking courses in the Christian Foundations for Ministry program. About 2,000 persons in the Archdiocese have already completed the program and are engaged in various ministries in their parishes, in the Archdiocese, in their local communities.

What will I gain through the Christian Foundations for Ministry program?

You will gain a greater self-knowledge, a greater self-confidence, which will enhance your relationship with God and enrich your relationships with others in all areas of your life. You will be better qualified to be involved in a ministry to your family, in your parish and/or community. You will have a deeper understanding of your own spiritual life and continue to grow in holiness.