How Big is a Mustard Seed?
Two weekends ago, we heard the Gospel reading about the mustard seed. Have you ever wondered just how small a mustard seed is? Well one of our Catholic Leadership Institute team members wanted to find out when we reflected on this reading last year, so she brought one to share. Wow, it was even smaller than I realized.
But it made me think about philanthropy – and how gifts of any size – have the same potential to transform when given the right care to facilitate growth. Every donor who gives to Catholic Leadership Institute makes an impact… and that impact is significant and special. Thank you.
How Your Generosity is Like a Mustard Seed:
Here are four examples of how your gift has been like a mustard seed for Catholic Leadership Institute this past year:
1. Regardless of the size, your gift has an impact
Like a mustard seed, our two most prominent endeavors started as an idea. Now, because of your generosity, these initiatives and their participants have flourished, planted roots, and fostered transformation.
- Next Generation Parish: Participants in Next Generation Parish from the Arch/Dioceses of Orlando, Philadelphia, Jackson, Biloxi, and Fort Wayne-South Bend have not slowed down because of quarantine! In the Diocese of Fort Wayne South Bend, they have described envisioning sessions as "a blessing" during this time, bringing even greater focus to necessary conversations around reopening. While response to the pandemic has certainly been part of the conversation, parishes at different points in their four-year journeys are discerning their priorities, beginning to explore their SMART goals, and continuing to implement parish plans.
- Called For More: This pilot aimed at revolutionizing support for priestly placement and transitions has kicked off in four dioceses this year. Data has been gathered for all priests and their parishes in the Arch/Dioceses of Lansing, Tulsa, Milwaukee and Savannah! CLI has begun reviewing the feedback with priests, who have expressed gratitude for the unbiased information about their personal strengths and ministry styles. "To do good requires humility and illumination" says Fr. Scott Winchel in Savannah, and "by coasting we become mediocre. It is good to have goals and Called for More brings all aspects of this together."
2. You can move mountains.
Your gift has helped Church leaders tackle rocky tasks and issues.
The challenges of the pandemic have been significant, but the response from the parishes and Church leaders we support thanks to philanthropy has been inspiring.
- Support for Bishops: Since April, CLI has hosted four small group discussions with bishops to provide a chance for them to discuss the challenges of the current environment and share ideas and gain insights from brother bishops. CLI offered bishops free virtual support for diocesan leadership on thinking through reopening plans for their diocese.
- Post Pandemic Parish Support: CLI recognized the great need parishes have during this time for focus, facilitation and support. Our new Post-Pandemic Parish Support offers parishes 6-8 weeks of consultation with a CLI Leadership Consultant to build a parish reopening team, facilitate conversation on unique parish challenges and opportunities, and provide resources and support, at no cost to the parish. At St. Matthew’s Parish, many parishioners were fearful of returning to Mass. After working with CLI, the parish team decided to host Mass outdoors at a local football field, which was a "rip-roaring success" according to pastor Fr. Thomas Heron.
3. When Jesus spoke about the seed, it wasn’t just about transforming the world, it was also about transforming ourselves.
We hope that by giving in support of those we walk alongside, you feel a sense of communion with us, a way to make a difference during challenging times. We are so grateful to have you as a partner in planting the seeds for the future of our faith, our leaders, and our parishes.
4. For a mustard seed to grow, it requires great care.
We are committed to caring for your gifts.
This past year we have watched your gift grow. We are dedicated to caring for it and committed to watering it, giving it sunshine, weeding it, and feeding it. We are steadfast in providing our Church leaders with support and training at the highest standards of excellence.
And always we pray in gratitude for you and your generosity. Caring for your gifts with prayer is like giving a mustard seed Miracle-Gro!
Thank you for helping make miracles grow in our Church every day through your support of Catholic Leadership Institute!