By Linda Cunha-Ricchio
Director of the Institute for Leadership in Ministry
The Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM) will celebrate its 18th graduation honoring the Class of 2017 on May 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph. Bishop Patrick McGrath will preside at evening prayer during which the graduation takes place.
The 31 graduates in the English and Spanish language tracks represent 19 of the parishes within the Diocese of San Jose. This class is a resilient group of individuals who have supported each other through many challenges–serious illness, family situations, and even the death of one of their classmates. They started out as strangers but have built strong friendships and, on the way, learned about each other’s cultures.
During their time in the program, many students have shared with me how much they have grown in knowledge and faith and have come to a deeper appreciation of their roles and responsibilities as leaders in the Diocese. They look forward to their next steps. Several have applied to the Permanent Deacon Formation. Others have accepted greater responsibility in parish ministry. Some others are continuing to discern with their pastor where they are most needed.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Institute. Since its founding in 1997, there have been more than 900 individuals who have completed the program the majority of whom are still involved in active ministry. During the years, the curriculum has continued to evolve adding content to enrich and improve on the original foundation. This year, for example, a capstone-style course was added to third year curriculum to integrate coursework, with prayer and discernment, and in conversation with their pastors, to help students define their future mission and ministry within the local church.
We are grateful to Bishop McGrath for his ongoing support and to all who have contributed to the good work of the Institute. All are invited to attend the graduation as we gather to honor the Class of 2017. We hope to see pastors, parish staffs, and especially our beloved alumni.