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The Academy for Vocational Leadership

The Academy for Vocational Leadership is a three-year program of preparation leading to the diaconate or the priesthood. In order to begin this program, an applicant must have begun the formal process toward ordination with the Commission on Ministry.

The Academy is a joint program of the Dioceses of Eastern Michigan, Michigan and Western Michigan and is based on the Iona Collaborative, a local formation curriculum developed by the Seminary of the Southwest in conjunction with the Iona School Collaborative for Local Formation.


Each year the program begins with a weekend retreat in August. Class weekends are held once a month from September through June at the Colombiere Retreat and Conference Center in Clarkston. Each weekend begins on Friday at 5:30 pm and concludes on Sunday at 3:00 pm.

*COVID-19 Notice: We will host our retreat and fall sessions on line by zoom until the pandemic passes and we have more information about the safety of in person meetings. Please reach out if you have any questions.


The cost of the program is $3,800 per year which covers tuition and overnight accommodations for two nights and six meals for the August retreat and each of the ten sessions. In addition, the cost of required textbooks will range from $150 – 200 per year. Students and their home parishes are expected to contribute to the cost of the Academy, and the dioceses also provide some scholarship assistance.

*COVID-19 Notice: We will reduce tuition fees as we are not able to meet in person at Colombiere. The first semester (1/2) rate will be $1,100 instead of $1,800.

TYPICAL WEEKEND SCHEDULE when at colombiere (adjusted for online)


5:30 Dinner
7:00 Spirituality Class (ONLINE ONLY begins at 7pm)
8:45 Compline


8:00 Breakfast
8:45 Morning Prayer (ONLINE only begins at 8:45)
9:15 Academic Class
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Academic Class
3:30 Free Time
5:30 Dinner
6:15 Evening Prayer (ONLINE ONLY begins at 6:15)
7:00 Practical Class


8:00 Breakfast
8:45 Eucharist (ONLINE Only begins at 8:45)
10:00 Practical Class
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Practical Class
3:00 Depart


Academic Year 2020-2021:

Retreat: August 7-9

September 11-13

October 9-11

November 6-8

December 4-6

January 15-17

February 12-14

March 12-14

April 9-11

May 7-9

June 4-6


Contact The Rev. Dr. Valerie Fargo, Diocese of Eastern Michigan, at or Canon Jo Ann Hardy at