Becoming a Minister of Faith Formation, or BAMOFF, is an annual series offered by the Albany Diocese to train Catholics in becoming parish directors of faith formation, and to enhance the vocation of those already in that ministry.

David Amico, director of the diocesan Office of Ministry Formation, refers to BAMOFF as "forming the leadership."

It's "giving them initial formation to help them fulfill their ministry as effectively as possible," he explained.

BAMOFF is comprised of eight sessions every year on topics like recruiting catechists, guidelines for administration of parish programs, and the ministry as a whole. There are sessions on how to plan for sacramental catechists and on lifelong faith formation.

Mr. Amico told The Evangelist that all aspects of faith formation are "very important.

"We have a lot more to do [now] in terms of with the protection of children and youth," he added. That subject is a large part of the program.

Most BAMOFF sessions are taught by the diocesan faith formation team, but Mr. Amico said that faith formation directors also serve as guest speakers with a lot of insight: "They're in the field. They're in the thick of it."

BAMOFF allows future and current faith formation leaders to establish a community, he said. Knowing directors at neighboring parishes can often result in joint programming or just a good peer resource.

BAMOFF also makes sure future faith formation directors get consistent information and education.

(The first of this year's sessions begins Sept. 13. The cost is $25 per session or $175 for the entire series of eight. For more information or to register, call Mr. Amico, 518-453-6670.)