Family and friends gathered May 21 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Burlington to celebrate 14 graduates of the Lay Formation Leadership Program.

Graduates have spent the last two years learning and developing skills in the areas of academic, pastoral, and spiritual formation. They will use these skills to better serve and evangelize both their parish and communities as missionary disciples. Each participant also was required to complete a capstone project along with a written reflection based on a current need identified within their parish.

The ceremony began with a prayer over the graduates; congratulatory remarks were made by Deacon Phil Lawson, executive director of the Office of Pastoral Ministries for the Diocese of Burlington.

The commencement address was given by Jennifer Ploof, pastoral formation delegate. She acknowledged the sacrifices that each graduate has made over the last two years to complete the program, urged everyone to keep learning and reading, and encouraged graduates to continue to lean on one another as they begin to use the skills they have acquired in their own missions.

The 2023 graduates are: Katharin Brink, Essex Catholic Community, Essex; Carolina Chenette, St. Luke Parish, Fairfax; Joann Frymire, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Williston; Jade Garrow, St. Ann Parish, Milton; Nicole Hamilton, St. Ann Parish, Milton; Elijah LaChance, Rutland/Wallingford Catholic Community, Rutland; Megan LaChance, Rutland/Wallingford Catholic Community, Rutland; Carl Maklad, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Williston; Connie McDonald, St. John Vianney Parish, South Burlington; Joseph Myers, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Williston; Jeffrey Sharp, Immaculate Conception Parish, St. Albans; Kyle Sipples, Corpus Christi Parish, St. Johnsbury; Elizabeth Stuart, Our Lady of the Valley Parish, Randolph, Bethel, Rochester; and Daniel Swinington, Our Lady of Seven Dolors Parish, Fair Haven.

The Office of Pastoral Ministries is currently accepting applications for the next class beginning in August. Deadline to apply is June 1.

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