As I listened to the Gospel at Mass this past weekend that describes Jesus’ gift of the “Our Father,” I found myself thinking about what a joy it is to serve our priestly fathers through Catholic Leadership Institute.
One of our most special ways of caring for our shepherds is Called For More. This innovative endeavor seeks to foster happier, holier, and healthier priests.
READ BELOW to discover FIVE fascinating findings that Called For More has taught us about our fathers, our faith, and our future. (Lay leaders, #2 is for you!)
A priest’s words from his homily on this reading have stuck with me: “Truly focus on each word of the ‘Our Father,’ and you will see that we cannot pray the ‘Our Father’ without praying for each other.”
I will pray for you and for all of our priestly fathers when I say my morning rosary tomorrow (especially on the “Our Father” beads)!
Inspired by love for priests, Called For More, spurs our shepherds to embrace their call to the priesthood and prioritizes care for priests’ corporal and spiritual needs.
One of the great learnings through this process has been that the impact of Called For More extends far beyond our priests.
Below are five findings that we have gleaned from the 1500+ parishes, almost 2,500 priests, and 14 dioceses who have participated in Called For More:
- First-Time Feedback: Called For More is a blend of a priestly assessment, Disciple Maker Index survey feedback, and peer reviews – we have learned that often this is the very first time priests are receiving feedback like this. Leadership Consultant, Denise Ehlen, describes the progress: “There is now a thirst to know. Many priests are using the data to shift their own leadership, especially with homilies, spiritual journeys, and conversing with staff and different ministries of the parish to look more deeply into what and who is in their congregations. They want to harness time, energy, and focus to be more intentional about growth. For the first time, they are very specifically articulating a growth plan. They are asking for a coach for the first time.”
- Hidden Lay Leader Talents: For lay leaders, one key learning is that your role is more important than ever. Your pastors and parishes need you. However, pastors do not know the unique gifts and talents of every single member of their parish. While they can identify a core group of talented parishioners, there are so many more they are not aware of. There are tremendously gifted and faithful people in the pews who can transform their parishes… Rise up and courageously share your gifts!
- Courageous, Coachable Priests: Called For More has made it abundantly clear that coaching and mentoring can be life-changing for priests. This piece of Called For More is special and unique. While it takes courage to ask for a coach, this can be a transformative piece of Called For More for priests. Due to this finding, we are looking forward to expanding and enhancing this part of the Called For More experience.
- Meaningful Mentorship: A beautiful benefit of Called For More – that we were not expecting to be so profound – is not just the addition of coach mentors, but how these coach mentors have witnessed their own personal faith, commitment to their diocese, and care for their parish strengthened. We have been humbled by the impact this has had on these individuals.
- Moving from Nostalgia to Future-Facing: Across parishes in general, we have found there is a sense of nostalgia and longing to hold onto what parish life used to look like. Yet, for our Church to thrive we must see our parish for what it is today. The Disciple Maker Index survey has taken on an even greater importance because pastors desire to have a real-time snapshot of their parishes post pandemic and in light of today’s society. Because of this learning, we are piloting some new ways to utilize this data for our Called For More parishes.
Tim Flanagan founded Catholic Leadership Institute on the vision that Church leaders needed and deserved leadership formation. Tim’s favorite quote is: “God’s gift to us is our potential, and what we do with it is our gift back to God.” Called For More has a similar aim in helping priests, parishes, and lay leaders better identify their God-given gifts and use them for His glory.
I am so grateful to all of the priestly fathers who have participated in Called For More, and I look forward to sharing more learning from the Called For More journey!