As the desire and demand for accompaniment from Church leaders increases, it is a blessing for Catholic Leadership Institute to rise up and meet that challenge.
This past Sunday when we celebrated the feast day of St. Cajetan, Patron Saint of Job Seekers, I found myself reflecting in gratitude. As Catholic Leadership Institute is experiencing an unprecedented number of requests for partnership and support around the country, I am thankful that so many wonderful people have heard and answered the call of our Lord to serve our mission. St. Cajetan was certainly watching over us!
Today, I invite you to meet one of those new full-time Catholic Leadership Institute staff members, Richara Krajewski. We are blessed to have Richara serving as Manager of Client Services. While she is new to this role, she is not new to our CLI family.
READ BELOW for a Q&A with Richara – I know you will be inspired by her journey, her faith, her unique perspective on our ministry… and her most meaningful ministry so far at CLI!
Q&A with Richara Krajewski, CLI Client Services Manager
Thanks so much for talking with me today, Richara, and you are certainly not new to Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI). You've been a part of our family for a long time, but you're transitioning to a new role with us. We are blessed to know you as a Parish Missionary Disciples graduate, and CLI Leadership Consultant, and now you have transitioned to a full-time role as the Manager of Client Services. I'd love to have an opportunity for you to share what you were doing before you made the leap to come here to CLI.
Thank you, Mike, for the invitation. I came on to join the CLI team part-time in 2020 when I was brought on as a Leadership Consultant (LC) while serving full-time at St. Raymond of Penafort in Northwest Philadelphia. My first LC engagements were all the fun things: leading Next Generation Parish and facilitating virtual Parish Missionary Disciples.
It was super fun to enter CLI at that time when we were in the middle of the pandemic and really trying to figure out how to pivot and respond to new needs. I was really blessed to enter at a time when there was this outburst of innovation from Catholic Leadership Institute technologically in terms of our programming and content development. So, I was serving for the last two years in that role and doing many, many, many exciting projects. Then, just a few weeks ago, I joined CLI full-time as the Client Service Manager.
Those endeavors are so exciting, and I think you're right: this period of time has been one of incredible growth, great innovation, and exciting services. You mentioned that you were at St. Raymond Parish in Philadelphia. What did you do there? I feel like I should probably ask what didn't you do there because you were doing so many wonderful things!
My time at St. Raymond was probably the best preparation for any work vocation in the Christian life. I had the opportunity to help lead Bible study small groups and one-on-one evangelization. I was shoveling snow. I was accompanying seniors. I was delivering meals and also involved in strategic planning and direct pastoral ministry.
It was really a way to stretch out in almost every single area of parish ministry and become aware of all the many ways that the Lord will use you if you say, “Yes and yes and yes.” I had that role for six years and really it was home for me. I was at church seven days a week, and I never once said to myself, “Ah, I'm so exhausted.” I found it to be a great privilege to be able to literally be with Jesus anytime because I have the key to the church! It was a beautiful, beautiful six years.
That's awesome, Richara. What a great opportunity and what great perspective of having lived the experience that many of those we are serving live on a day-to-day basis.
When I think about that transition and the work you're doing now at CLI, you mentioned before that this role of Client Service Manager is brand new. I know you're only a couple of weeks in, but you've already hit the ground running. What is it that you're focusing on in this new role?
In the first couple of weeks, my focus has just been on just getting our team prepared for the amazing outpouring of work and productivity that's coming into the late summer and fall and really trying to figure out the things that we need to do to expand our capacity. That capacity is not just technical expertise in our processes and systems, but also cultivating the right spirit of service and recognizing that we are not just doing administrative work. We're not nearly doing tasks to fulfill objectives or to check off items in a project plan. Every single thing that we do and that we do well is critical to every single service that CLI is rolling out. We recognize that and there's a great deal of energy around delivering well and for the sake of the Kingdom.
I'm so excited by what you've shared and what you've seen over the past few weeks that you've been here. What’s been one thing that has surprised you as you begin this new role?
I knew that our team and the Client Service Coordinators were awesome, but the amount of planning and anticipating of the entire CLI team’s needs that they do is amazing. That is just evidence of how our team is really invested in the mission and really invested in the success of individuals as they undertake their specific engagements; that was surprising. I had some sense of it, but now that I've seen what it looks like and what it means to really attend to someone and their projects with diligence and care, that's been a really wonderful surprise.
Last question for you: we talked a little bit about what got you here. As you reflect on your time at CLI so far, what is something you look back on as one of the most impactful moments for you and the work you have done in our ministry?
I've been asked this question a couple of times and my normal answer is Parish Missionary Disciples, because I love that. But I've been doing some work with the Coach Mentor initiative and other areas of Called For More recently. Coach Mentors recognize that they are invited to really make an incredible difference in the life of a priest. In the way that this coaching relationship unleashes their gifts and their generosity, you can just see the Holy Spirit present in those meetings. To me, especially lately, that has been really impactful. I'm so grateful that I get to facilitate that; those deliveries in particular have been really special. I know it's going to make a huge difference as we see Called For More roll out in more dioceses across the country.
Thank you for sharing that – we are looking forward to enhancing Coach Mentoring and continuing to expand that good work. I'm excited that we can learn from your experience and continue to make an investment into Coach Mentoring and all of Called For More.
Richara, I'm so grateful to you for sharing your perspectives. Thank you for giving us some insight into your work, your passion, and your love of our Church!
Friends, we invite you to pray for all of the new team members at Catholic Leadership Institute as they join our mission, serve our Church, and work tirelessly to bring more people to know and love Jesus.
St. Cajetan, pray for us!
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