Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM) Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM) Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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By Liz Sullivan

It has been 18 years since the founding Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose Pierre DuMaine retired. However one of the Bishop’s lasting legacies is marking a milestone.

The Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM) held a 20th Anniversary Mass of Thanksgiving on October 11 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph.

“Bishop DuMaine’s clearest response to the (Second Vatican) Council was the establishment of the ILM, so that men and women of this local Church could take their rightful place in ministry, working as true collaborators of the religious and clergy,” said DuMaine’s successor, Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, during the Mass where he was the celebrant. “His was a vision shared with many, and it became a reality in spite of budgetary and all other sorts of challenges.”

The Bishop added, “the graduates of the Institute are to be found in every corner of the Diocese, serving alongside religious, deacons and priests, some of them also proud graduates of the Institute. They are involved in nearly every field of pastoral ministry and they have enriched the life of our parishes in ways that could never have been anticipated back in 1997.

“Today, we give thanks for Bishop Pierre’s commitment to the Council’s vision that all of the baptized should share in the life and work of the Church. We are grateful to all who have worked with and for the ILM – faculty, staff and directors. In particular, (first director) Anne Grycz and Linda Cunha-Ricchio, who have successfully steered a course that gives us ample reason for this celebration.”

According to the current director Cunha-Ricchio:

  • Almost 1,000 individuals have graduated from the ILM.
  • Currently, 150 women and men are enrolled.
  • Six priests began their formation in ILM: Father Hector Basañez, Father Jeff Fernandez, Father Therie Geris, Father Steve Kim, Father Dat Luong, Father Larry Percell, and soon-to-be-ordained Reverend Mr. Edgar Elamparo.
  • ILM is a pre-requisite for the Permanent Deacon Formation program.
  • In any given year, there are 50 to 60 faculty members presenting classes.

During the years, many curriculum modifications have been made. For example, an enhanced spiritual formation process called “Encountering Christ” precedes theology classes, a new capstone course in the final year helps students integrate learning and personal as well as parish discernment; and annual retreats for all students.

“As we gather to celebrate the Eucharist this evening, we remember these 20 years since the founding of the Institute for Leadership in Ministry,” said Bishop McGrath. “This time seems to have passed with the blink of an eye. The years have flown by, even, as I know, some of the days and nights might have seemed as though they would never pass…but so it is with all of our lives. In commemorating events such as this, it is common for us to go ‘back to the beginning.’ And it is right to do so.

“However, that beginning is not here in San Jose, somewhere in the 1990s, but much earlier than that. As we so often say, ‘It all begins with Baptism.’ And this can be no more true than in recounting the purpose, the goals and the mission of the ILM.

During the Rite of Baptism, as the deacon or priest anoints the newly baptized with Sacred Chrism, he says these words, ‘As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.’ To be members of the Body of Christ, is to share his priestly, prophetic and royal nature. Indeed, his nature is our own. And by virtue of that identity – of our Baptism – all of us, ordained or not, are charged to be shepherds after the heart of the Lord.”

To learn more about the Institute for Leadership in Ministry, please visit www.dsj.org/education/institute-for-leadership-in-ministry.