“The mission of St. Mary Catholic School is to create and encourage an environment of academic and spiritual excellence where children can grow in the knowledge of God and are formed to become the Catholic Leaders and Missionary Disciples our world needs.”
Fr. Ivan looks out at a sea of students filling the pews of St. Mary’s Parish in the Diocese of Orlando. “Let’s all say our parish vision,” he encourages them, and with one voice, the children proclaim the parish purpose statement from memory.
Recently, I heard Fr. Ivan and St. Mary’s students recite their pledge in person – what a moment of vision, leadership, and faith. I felt compelled to share with you this powerful example of the impact your generosity…
I wish you could have been with me to witness this in person, but I invite you to click above to listen to Fr. Ivan and the St. Mary students!
Fr. Ivan is a graduate of Catholic Leadership Institute training. His parish and school are in their second year of Catholic Leadership Institute’s Next Generation Parish service (made possible by generous donors) and are blessed by many very positive results. Once a declining parish with less than 600 people attending Mass weekly, St. Mary's now has close to 1,000 people participating in Mass each weekend. More young adults and families are attending, and the pews are filled with children. This Church is truly alive!
Pentecost, the anniversary of the priesthood, is all about being set on fire. Like Fr. Ivan and his parish, the apostles were set on fire with confidence, energy, and love for Christ and the Church through the Holy Spirit.
Today, on the Feast of Pentecost, I thought of Fr. Ivan, the special priests in our lives, and the 3,481 priests who Catholic Leadership Institute has supported. These priests are much like the apostles in the upper room at Pentecost. They are set on fire through their faith, training, and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I am inspired every day by priests that the Catholic Leadership Institute has served who are not just changing their parishes, but changing our faith through vision setting, welcoming young people, caring for their communities, Christ-like leadership, and so much more. To these priests: thank you. We are so grateful for you.
Today, as we celebrate Pentecost, Catholic Leadership Institute will be praying for priests around the world.
We are grateful to donors who make it possible for priests like Fr. Ivan to grow in leadership at a time when the Church needs it most.
Thank you for the difference you are making.