In October, 1990, the Most Rev. Bishop John J. Snyder established a committee to assist him in the development of a comprehensive Ministry Formation Program (MFP) to assist in the formation of lay leaders for the diocese. This committee reviewed similar programs and spoke with various leadership groups in the diocese including the Family Life Office, the Liturgical Commission, Hispanic Apostolate, Marywood Retreat Center, and the Presbyterate.
After more than a year of study, Bishop Snyder accepted the recommendations and mandated that all Diocesan Leadership personnel that had been professionally trained, but without Church background, would need to complete the program.
In February, 1992 Bishop Snyder appointed Fr. Michael Houle as the Interim Director of the Ministry Formation Program and Margaret McCully was hired to serve as the Administrative Assistant. The Office of Christian Formation was given the task of staff and overseeing the MFP. The MFP admitted its first participants in the fall of 1992, and the first certificates of completion were conferred in December, 1995.
In 1993, Father Houle formed an Advisory Board that would create long term plans for the Ministry Formation Program. This board still operates today on a rotating basis giving guidance and leadership to the Office of Christian Formation.
In initiating a diaconate program for the Diocese of St. Augustine in 2003, it was determined that the MFP would be a first requirement from men feeling the call to ordained ministry.
In 1996, the MFP began the process of becoming an accredited program through the then active United States Catholic Conference Commission on Certification Accreditation. (USCCB/CCA). This was fully achieved for the years 2001-2009 and reaffirmed in 2009- 2017. The USCCB/CCA no longer exists as an agency of the Bishops.
There have been 359 graduates of the program who serve in a variety of capacities in the diocese as DREs, youth ministers, school teachers, RCIA Coordinators, etc.
A silver jubilee celebration is being held on Saturday, June 23 at Bishop Kenny High School, the original site of the MFP classes. For more information, please contact Erin in the Office of Christian Formation at firstname.lastname@example.org