Next Generation Parish Update

A core aim of Catholic Leadership Institute's (CLI) mission and passion is revitalizing parishes across the United States. What is an ignited parish? It is one that is effective at leading souls to Christ. In an ignited parish, pews are filled with people who are ablaze with love for Jesus Christ and who are deepening their discipleship and empowering evangelization. These parishes are places for souls to gather and receive Jesus so they can they go out into the world to transform it and share Him with others. In such parishes, leadership is diverse, representing parishioners of varying ages and demographics, and parents are great examples of faith to their children.

Next Generation Parish (NGP) is a four-year experience that transforms the future of the Church through innovative, dynamic accompaniment that helps parishes meet the challenges of our time through visionary models that foster spiritual maturity, share leadership, offer a vibrant Sunday experience, and embrace a missionary impulse. Thanks to visionary philanthropists, $7 million were raised to support this initiative on a national level. As a result, CLI is offering - or is committed - to begin Next Generation Parish in these twelve arch/dioceses, representing a total of 138 parishes combined:

CLI is thrilled to accompany these parishes and their leaders through a transformative journey of vision, growth, training, and transformation.

Next Generation Parish Giving in Action

Below are just a few highlights from the past year about how NGP is igniting parishes throughout this endeavor – all of this is made possible through philanthropy:

  • NGP Extends Reach: The number of parishes and people served through NGP increased significantly this past year. At this moment in time, we are seeing – across all of our ministries – increased openness and desire for support, accompaniment, and partnership.
  • DMI Demand Increases: The Disciple Maker Index (DMI) survey – a key component of NGP and all CLI ministries – also saw an increase in participation this year. This groundbreaking survey now includes 525,000+ responses across 3,240 parishes in the U.S. In 2022, the DMI participation rate was the highest on record, with 164,779 new survey responses completed across 605 parishes. The pandemic increased the demand for the DMI survey, responding to a desire on behalf of bishops and priests to hear from the people and better understand the current state of parish life and faith.
  • Building Upon NGP Learnings: In addition to our on-the-ground ministry walking alongside parishes around the country, CLI consistently steps back to synthesize learnings and maximize the impact of NGP. The areas in which we have seen great need in the Church and have already made improvements to the program include communications, missionary discipleship, and increased implementation support.
  • Insights Gained about Parish Life: As a result of concluding our first pilot experience in the Diocese of Orlando in 2022, CLI gained great insights about parish life and the NGP endeavor. NGP parishes saw the needle move in many ways, including an increase in DMI data scores related to spiritual growth within several NGP parishes. This is encouraging and hopeful. More people are growing closer to Jesus Christ as a result of the work done in NGP.
  • Drastic Difference in Parish Life post-COVID: While there is not much data yet available on the impact COVID had on the life of the Church, the Disciple Maker Index survey allows us to capture a look at parish life today. The data, learnings, and stories reveal that NGP pilot parishes fared significantly better (in terms of DMI scores and sacramental trends) than the current national benchmark snapshot of post-pandemic parish life.

Next Generation Parish has been an incredible learning experience that will shape and strengthen all our ministries today and for years to come.

Perhaps the most important lesson NGP has revealed is that we must help our parishes act and think differently to meet the changing landscape of the Catholic Church in the United States. When intention is placed on a priority, we see that positive change is possible and beautiful. The DMI data shows that parishes that do not act have seen dire consequences as their trends continue to decline. The cost of doing nothing is far greater than we ever imagined.

Thanks to our generous donors, we have the resources we need to help our parishes take action, experience change, and ignite the souls they serve.

In the Words of a Supporter:

“I frequently attend two Next Generation Parishes; the change is visible. The numbers speak loudly of what we have been able to accomplish, especially trended against the national averages. Pews that were empty now are packed. You can see the difference, night and day. What changed to make it so much better? The leadership." - Lusant Ordonez, Next Generation Parish Task Force Member, Diocese of Orlando

In the Words of a Bishop:

"Next Generation Parish has helped more people know Jesus. Ultimately, our goal was to bring more people to know the loving embrace of Christ. Next Generation Parish has helped people of all ages: children, adults, young people, seniors - turn and see Jesus' open arms and walk into them. From school children reciting a parish vision, to a retired parishioner mobilizing 200 families to serve the less fortunate, to the scene of 100+ lay leaders at work together in the retreat center, all focused on one thing: Jesus. That is what this is all about." - Bishop John Noonan, Next Generation Parish Bishop, Diocese of Orlando

In the Words of a Participant:

“A gift to CLI is a way for you to play a role in the evangelization our Church needs right now. You are inspiring and aiding people to go out and bring Jesus to others. I say to all those in our parish – those involved in ministry, teaching, prep, and more – you are building up this Kingdom of God. In the midst of everyday life, it is easy to lose sight of that. But we are building up the Kingdom. That’s what our jobs are. That’s what your giving does.” - Monsignor Angelo Citino, Next Generation Parish Pastor, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

by Chad Peddicord

March 14, 2023

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