Philanthropy Furthers Fraternity

Seeing a crowd of bishops bowed in prayer each year at the Catholic Leadership Institute Bishops’ Sessions is always a profound and holy moment. Often, those bishops are saying prayers of gratitude for you…

Last week, Catholic Leadership Institute was blessed to serve and host bishops from the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean for fraternity, learning, and collaboration in Orlando, FL.

These sessions are only possible because of philanthropy. Truly, we are grateful to the donors who make this possible. Since 2009, more than 160 bishops have participated in these sessions – all 160 of these opportunities has been made possible by your generosity.

Each year, the bishops pick the topic for the sessions. This year’s topic was timely:

Shepherding in a Post-Pandemic Church

It was an opportune time to bring our shepherds together not just to plan for the future, but to reflect together, pray with and for each other, and learn from brother bishops.

The resounding note that stood out to so many was this: our bishops not only considered the demands of leadership at this time… but the extraordinary hope and unparalleled opportunity during this time.

With two national holidays this week – both Valentine’s Day and National Leadership Day – I can’t help but be extra grateful for the love you show for our Church, the love you give to our Church leaders, and the love you have for leadership.

This year Catholic Leadership Institute was blessed to unite bishops from across our Church to passionately learn, pray, and plan for the life, the future, and the mission of our Church both now and in a post-pandemic world.

Catholic Leadership Institute’s Bishops’ Sessions bring together the impact of philanthropy, love of Church, and the power of leadership for our faith all in one setting.

What are the Bishops’ Sessions?

Catholic Leadership Institute’s Bishops’ Sessions (known formally as Episcopal Ongoing Formation and Support [EOFS]) encompass three days of supporting, accompanying, and collaborating alongside our bishops – they participate in discussions about their role as shepherds. They discern data gathered by Catholic Leadership Institute and consider the implications and opportunities for those entrusted to their care. They look honestly at their own leadership to determine areas for growth, and they exchange best practices.

A Timely Topic

In preparation for these sessions, CLI asks the bishops themselves to choose the topic so that we can ensure that these sessions as meaningful, fruitful, and impactful as possible. This year’s topic was exceedingly clear: responding to the pandemic, reopening, and reimagining the Church and their critical role within it.

Challenging Times; Challenging Discussion

Bishops spent three days learning, praying, and collaborating about how our Church will adapt, thrive, and learn from these truly unprecedented times.

Their objectives for the three days included:

  1. Deepening an understanding of the complex and challenging issues of a post-pandemic society/Church and discerning actionable steps to build unity among a polarized faith community.
  2. Reflecting upon and prioritizing the most significant changes needed in leadership or episcopal ministry to address the needs of a post-pandemic Church.
  3. Discerning and sharing how the uncertainties of a post-pandemic Church can be new and fruitful opportunities for mission.
  4. Brainstorming and sharing best practices among bishops with respect to encouraging and setting expectations for the presbyterate, chancery, and parishes for a post-pandemic Church.

Mass with a Message

In addition to the above, the bishops also came together to celebrate Mass.

One homily in particular impacted and touched many of those in attendance. It centered on maintaining our focus on the Lord. Right now, amidst the complexity of our world, it is so easy to be diverted, but we always have to focus on where the Lord is calling us to. Pope Francis has called us to be a listening Church…

“The pandemic has brought us to a crossroads. We must use this decisive moment to end our superfluous and destructive goals and activities and to cultivate values, connections and activities that are lifegiving.”
—Pope Francis, September 1, 2020

Certainly, last week the bishops listened to each other, listened to lessons and ideas amongst them and our CLI team, and listened intently for the call of where Jesus needs them most for our Church right now.

You could also feel and hear their profound gratitude for those who invest in this endeavor. Every bishop’s experience was made possible because of generous donors who believe that the impact of leadership is monumental.

As we shared with our bishop attendees: “There is a tremendous invitation to proclaim our faith and shine a light in these challenging times.” Thank you for being that light.

𝒲𝒾𝓉𝒽 𝓂𝒶𝓃𝓎 𝒷𝓁ℯ𝓈𝓈𝒾𝓃ℊ𝓈,

by Chad Peddicord

February 17, 2022

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