Update: Forging our Future

What will the "parish of the future" look like? With steep declines expected in the number of priests available for ministry and a seismic generational shift that is expected to radically affect the number of parishioners filling our pews in the next decade, how do we continue to ensure our parishes are places where the next generation can turn to in their joy and their suffering?

At Catholic Leadership Institute, we take these questions seriously and, together with our diocesan and parish partners, we face them head-on with confidence in the Lord’s promise. Through our research and thought leadership that is informed by over 30 years of field experience and the largest study on parish life in the world, Catholic Leadership Institute is helping parishes and dioceses around the country walk into the future with confidence and competence, ready to renew and rebuild the Church with a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything.

Forging our Future Giving in Action

Below are a few highlights of the work we are doing today to forge a brighter future for our faith:

CLI’s Synod Support Encourages Listening & Dialogue: In response to the Holy Father’s call across the globe for the whole People of God to participate in a synodal journey, Catholic Leadership Institute has supported the Archdioceses of Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis and the Diocese of Wichita in facilitating the synod in their local Church, fostering deeper listening, communion and accompaniment across the Church.

Third Global Symposium: In late 2022, CLI hosted the final of three virtual global symposia, entitled: Qualities of an Effective Pastor. In this series, 36 participants from around the globe with wide ranging experience and viewpoints helped to gather qualitative feedback and perspectives to support our research. Attendees included parish, diocesan, academic, philanthropic, and apostolates leaders, representing a wide range of ethnicities and demographics.

Continued Prayers & Support in Hinche, Haiti: Global diocesan planning and ministry continues alongside Bishop Desinord Jean in the Diocese of Hinche, Haiti. As a community, we prayed this year for the bishops and our friends in Haiti as they continue their ministry alongside CLI even in the face of escalated violence and turmoil.

Making Missionary Disciples: The future of our faith depends on sharing the story of Jesus and His presence in the life of His people. CLI’s Parish Missionary Disciples inspires Catholics to live Jesus’ command of going out and making disciples of all nations. As of 2022, we have served 590 missionary disciples – Spanish and English-speaking – in the following arch/dioceses: Jackson, Biloxi, Philadelphia, Houma-Thibodaux, Orlando, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Los Angeles, St. Augustine, and St. Louis.

Commitment to Multi-Cultural Ministry: Thanks to a generous grant from the Porticus Foundation, Catholic Leadership Institute is collaborating with Catholic partners nationwide to study parish vitality, focusing specifically on how to best serve communities of color.

Ministry Launches in Philadelphia and Covington: CLI is in the beginning phases of comprehensive, multi-year engagements in both of these locations. These are the two biggest and boldest diocesan undertakings in the history of CLI, with partnerships that consist of diocesan-wide planning, presbyteral and priest support, Next Generation Parish initiatives, discipleship trainings, and so much more.

A keystone of Catholic Leadership Institute’s work, mission, and joy in ministry is ensuring the future of our Church for the Next Generation. Blazing a path forward for our Church takes diligence, innovation, service, love, trust, and – most importantly – prayer. Thank you for your continued prayers for our ministry.

In the Words of a Supporter:

“Sustaining CLI means sustaining leadership and not accepting the status quo for our Church.” - Martha Ortiz, CLI Board Member, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

In the Words of a Participant:

“You are credible, authentic, talented leaders who show up. You're ready for whatever the game day is… I love that you are the fullness of the Church. You are ordained. You are lay leaders. You represent different generations in the Church. That is really a great gift of CLI.” - Nancy Werner, Chancellor, Archdiocese of St. Louis

In the Words of a Bishop:

“CLI is God's instrument to help the Church, in Haiti, in the US, everywhere." - Bishop Desinord Jean, Diocese of Haiti

by Chad Peddicord

March 29, 2023

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