UNIVERSITY of NOTRE DAME

INSTITUTE FOR CHURCH LIFE

Human & Communal Formation

Echo apprentices and theology teachers are mature, faithful, and committed young adults who not only live together but also create community together by sharing the joys and challenges of their daily lives and the faith that unites and sustains them. Human and communal formation in Echo offers apprentices and theology teachers the opportunity to participate in several different kinds of community—the M.A. Theology community, the larger Echo community, an intentional faith community, and a diocesan and parish/school community—while deepening their capacity for personal growth, healthy relationships and a life-giving community experience.

During summers at Notre Dame, apprentices and theology teachers benefit from living, praying, studying and socializing with the M.A. Theology student community, participating in Echo community events (e.g., orientation, community service, retreats), and meeting weekly for dinner and prayer with their specific intentional faith community. Once on-site in their arch/diocese, intentional faith communities live in diocesan-provided housing and continue to meet regularly for the following:

  • designated weekly community nights that include a shared meal, prayer and activity;
  • communal prayer two to three times each week (in addition to community night); and
  • regular house meetings to establish household responsibilities and discuss communal concerns.

Echo prepares apprentices and theology teachers for communal living and facilitates human development by providing the following:

  • a thorough orientation, including a comprehensive Guide for Community Living, outlining program expectations and helpful practical suggestions, and interactive orientation sessions with insights from Echo graduates;
  • workshops on facilitating faith-sharing and seeking spiritual direction;
  • a series of human development workshops on topics such as communication, conflict management, healthy boundaries, family systems, emotional health, and relationships and sexuality;
  • ongoing support from Echo staff who meet with apprentices and theology teachers throughout the summer, visit Echo communities each fall and spring, and are available for consultation as needed; and
  • an Echo Formation Assistant (EFA), who lives within a partner diocese and offers primary local support to apprentices and theology teachers through facilitated retreats and monthly individual and communal meetings.