Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kathy Craft is a member of Catholic Leadership Institute’s (CLI) National Advisory Board. Her unique connection to Catholic Leadership Institute has led her to serve as an ambassador for the organization. Her home parish, the Church of St. Mary is home to Good Leaders, Good Shepherds, graduate Fr. Jack Gleason—featured on the front cover of this newsletter. As a member of Fr. Jack’s Parish Priority Planning Team, Kathy has benefitted from CLI’s leadership formation curriculum. She shares her experience and the reasons she feels so called to support this ministry in the interview that follows.
Q: How did you become involved with the ministry of Catholic Leadership Institute?
A: I was introduced to the ministry of Catholic Leadership Institute by Father Gary Kastl. He was the associate pastor at my parish and was a graduate of the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds program. Father Kastl was asked by Father Bill to join the CLI Team a little over one year ago. It was through several different conversations with Father Kastl that I began to learn about the mission of CLI and the important work being done in many dioceses.
Q: Describe your experience as a parishioner of a Good Leaders, Good Shepherds graduate? What positive changes have you witnessed?
A: My pastor, Father Jack, is a graduate of the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds program. In the short time he has been in this position, he has initiated several beneficial changes within our parish. He introduced a new youth program in which he continually shows his support by providing his leadership and enthusiasm for the development of the program. He hired an amazingly gifted music director who has been a wonderful addition to our parish by providing a versatile range of music selections that seem to meet the approval of the entire congregation. He has also engaged CLI to help create a Parish Priority Plan. We are the first parish in the country to do this, and I believe this process will be a very positive step for our parish.
Q: What have you learned as a result of being involved with the priority planning process in your parish?
A: We started the Parish Priority Plan in October so we are in the beginning stages of the process. However, I feel that it has been an enriching learning experience already. I believe one of the most positive benefits of the program is gaining skill in assessing and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of oneself and others. This insight into behavior preferences and patterns can be very helpful in my own roles and relationships with others. I am also gaining knowledge about the effectiveness of setting goals that are attainable and measurable
Q: What inspired you to give back to the mission of Catholic Leadership Institute?
A: I have great admiration for our priests and bishops who have answered God’s call to give their lives in service to His Church. It is my heartfelt desire for these men to feel great joy and fulfillment in their vocation. However, with the demands and responsibilities thrust upon them and some of them at an early age, many have felt overwhelmed which in turn can undermine their confidence. The Good Leaders, Good Shepherds program is answering a need and it is an honor and privilege for me to be a part of this as a donor to the program.
Q: Why do you feel it is important for each of us to use our gifts and talents in service to the Church?
A: I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of stewardship. Everything I have: time, health, relationships, talents, property, environment is a gift from God. How do I learn to be a giver rather than a taker? Striving to be a good steward on this earth seems to be a way I can show my gratitude to God for all these gifts. In my home, I have an 18th century wood carved corpus of Jesus without arms. My “Jesus” is hanging in a very prominent place in my home and I treasure the daily reminder that I am called to be the hands of Christ in this world.