Fr. Seán Loomis’s journey to the priesthood had a unique starting place.

In college, he found himself in a head-to-head battle for the Pennsylvania State Pole Vault Championship. With years of training leading up to this moment, he cleared his winning jump, at a height of 16.5 feet.

But when he was handed that trophy, he had a revelation. “It was the most dramatic, most thrilling experience of my life. Having won and conquered that moment, I grabbed my trophy. But I realized this… it's a piece of plastic. This can't be why I'm here. There has to be more… I was 19 years old, and I looked up to God in the sky and said ‘If you are there, I really need help… I need to know if you gave me a purpose and what that purpose is.’”

God certainly had a purpose for Fr. Seán. This moment set him on a path to discovery… one that led him to not only convert to the Catholic faith but to become a priest.

Catholic Leadership Institute is honored to support Fr. Seán as he soars to new heights of leadership at his parish, Annunciation B.V.M. in Havertown, PA.

When Fr. Seán learned that he would be assigned there, his first call was to CLI to gain leadership support. CLI was honored to become his teammate in Christ that day.

Today, Fr. Seán leads with the confidence of a champion. On the track, Fr. Seán knew how to be a winner… but through his time with CLI, we have seen him grow into a phenomenal coach. He guides his parish teams to envision, to implement, and to bring Christ to others. He shares:

CLI has helped me through the Next Generation Parish program to dramatically increase lay participation in the narrative and the future of this parish. People have come up to me and said, ‘Father, I'll tell you what, we’re doing some great things in this parish, and I'm really, really excited about it,’ which is wonderful for me to hear because people need hope, right? Working with CLI to create a Next Generation Parish I am able to provide them that hope. It's ambitious and people think that what we're doing is really bold, but they love the fact that we're going after it.”

Fr. Seán’s parish is just down the street from his parents’ home. One of his greatest wins – far greater than his state championship trophy – is the conversion of his father to the Catholic faith. Looking out over the pews, he can see his dad in the pews attending Mass. What a win!

Below, hear in Fr. Seán’s words how he has been able to grow alongside CLI:

Fr. Seán is igniting his parish:

The CLI Team helped me understand a variety of topics in parish life, whether it's how to best organize my staff, how to handle issues that may pop up in relationships, how to create a vision for the parish, how to charter a team, how to have follow through, and what sort of processes are effective and which ones are not. I feel like there's a chance here for more and more people to meet Christ.”

Fr. Seán is emboldened in his own leadership:

Working with CLI is helping my ministry. It gives me focus and direction so that I can use the resources that God gave me, such as time and energy and talent, where they need to be directed. My entire experience of leadership has been unburdened by understanding more clearly the way God made me.”

Fr. Seán is forging the future:

In our work with CLI, I'm watching as a pastor, as a proud spiritual father, how the people in our parish are really taking ownership in a meaningful way of their future and their mission as baptized Catholics in the Church who participate in the building up of the Kingdom of God, as Jesus has commissioned all of us to do.”

Fr. Seán is just one priest of thousands around the country who seek support to grow in their leadership. We can say yes to these requests for support because of philanthropy. Thank you.

by Becky Reilley

June 05, 2024

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