Resources for Pastoral Formation

“Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:1-3

Pastoral formation is formation for serving others. Jesus calls each one of us to be like Him and to share His love by serving those around us. Because there are so many different ways to do this, we have only suggested one resource and then provided a list of suggestions for things you can do to develop a servant’s heart. 

Forming your Approach to Serving Others

BOOK: The Soul of the Apostolate, by Abbot Jean-Baptiste Chautard, OCSO 

Ways to Practice Serving Others

At Home

Look for ways to do extra things for your parents and other family members. Here are some examples: 

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you ways to serve your family. 
  • Do chores without being asked. 
  • Offer to help a sibling with homework. 
  • Cook a meal so that your parents can have the night off. 

At School

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you ways to serve the people in your school. 
  • Reach out to a new student or a student who does not have friends. 
  • Offer to help someone who is struggling in one of your classes. 
  • Get involved in a service project or volunteer activity. 

In Your Neighborhood

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you ways to serve the people in your neighborhood. 
  • Offer to mow the lawn or weed the garden for one of your neighbors. 
  • Offer to wash the car for a neighbor who is elderly or sick. 

In Your Parish Church

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you ways to serve the people in your parish church. 
  • Ask your youth minister and/or priest if there are any ways that you can help at the church. 
  • Get involved in a volunteer ministry, such as altar serving, lectoring, or singing in the choir.  

A note of encouragement

As you look for ways to serve others, make sure that you do not commit to too many things at once. It is better to commit to one small thing and do it well than to commit to many things and then let people down because you cannot do everything you said you would do. An important factor in discerning how God wants you to serve is whether you can do that act of service and still keep up with your daily prayer and your responsibilities at home and at school. Also, remember that Jesus’ love for you does not depend on how much you serve others. He loves you no matter what, and your service to others is meant to flow from that love.