What is the Emmaus Institute?

Cover Art: Road to Emmaus, Sally Mae Joseph, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

It is a four-year intellectual and ministerial formation program for lay leadership ministry and potential Latino/Hispanic diaconal candidates from the Diocese of Saint Cloud, in partnership with Saint John School of Theology and Seminary. Its purpose is to create well-formed ministers who will serve the mission of the Gospel in their families, parishes, and wider communities throughout the diocese.

The course work will include theology classes, ministerial competencies, theological reflection, spiritual companioning groups, retreats and a parish integration project. The courses are offered in English and Spanish.

Why should parishes send their parish staff members for formation?

As Catholics, we have the greatest story to tell – the story of Jesus Christ. In order to tell it well, we need to understand it and have the skills to tell it. Lay ministers who are well-formed will have a better understanding of the Catholic faith that they share with the parish communities. Parishes and lay ministers will have access to resources and best practices for faith development through other participants, the Diocese of St. Cloud, and St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary.

Well-formed lay ministers will help create vibrant faith communities that will bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and will be Christ to the world that needs him desperately.

What is the commitment for students?

The students will:

  • attend all courses and activities (In the event that a participant is unable to attend all courses and activities in a given year, they may be required to wait until the next year to take the course)
  • participate actively and constructively in all of the courses, formation sessions and activities held each year for all four year
  • complete all assignments
  • meet with their pastor/director — or another designated parish leader — on a regular basis while participating in the Institute to seek support and guidance, and to discuss their work in the Emmaus Institute in relation to the life and ministry of the parish/institution.
  • participate actively in the prayer and liturgical life of the Emmaus Institute
  • assist in building up a spirit of Christian support and community among all students

If a student is not fulfilling these responsibilities, the associate director for lay leadership formation in consultation with faculty and staff members (after careful consideration and after discussing the concerns with the student) may request that he or she discontinue their participation in the Institute.

What are the learner outcomes?

  1. Develop parish leadership for vibrant Catholic communities.
  2. Raise the awareness of the Christian vocation of the laity in the family, the marketplace and the parish.
  3. Awaken in parishioners a desire for formation and ministry.
  4. Acquire the perspective and skills for an intelligent appropriation of the Catholic Christian Tradition.
  5. Develop an informed assessment of contemporary culture.
  6. Name own gifts based on community’s greatest needs and their own deepest passion.
  7. Grasp the content of faith and practical application to Christian living.
  8. Examine their basic assumption about life and its ultimate meaning in a community of faith.
  9. Be involved in the transformation of society by shaping public policy and making society more just through personal and communal action.
  10. Assess local needs and discern pastoral priorities.
  11. Experience Christian community in family, parish and small groups.
  12. Respond to baptismal vocation in particular settings.

What is the cost of the Emmaus Institute?

Tuition was $1200 for the 2022-2023 year, this may be adjusted for the 2023-2024 academic year. This cost covers courses, books, handouts and fees. Housing and meals are not included. Students  from parishes or ACCs in the Diocese of Saint Cloud will have part of the tuition off-set by the diocese.

Grants are available for qualifying students through the Catholic Education Ministries grant.  Applications are available here.  Contact the office of Catholic Education Ministries for more information or a paper application at (320) 251-0111.

What is the application process?

Those seeking admission to the Emmaus Institute for Ministry Formation must commit to the requirements of the institute and submit:

  • A completed application
    • Online application available here
    • Click here for a fillable paper application
  • Three references using the forms in the application (one must be from the applicant’s pastor)

If you have questions, or need more information contact Kristi Bivens at (320) 258-7642 or kristi.bivens@gw.stcdio.org.

Please use this online form to complete your application for the Emmaus Institute for Ministry Formation. 


2023-2024 Course Calendar (PDF)
Full Course Rotation (DOCX)


Catholic Education Ministries Grant Information