This month, the Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM) will welcome the Class of 2019. The 66 members who make up the combined first-year English and Spanish Tracks come from 24 different parishes around the Diocese. These individuals, currently involved in parish ministry and recognized as having leadership potential, were nominated by their pastors to begin the three-year program. They are inspired and eager to start the process of formation.
As the Institute carries out the mission of preparing ministerial leaders, we also recognize that our mission begins with Christ and forming disciples—disciples who change the world and inspire others to do the same. Responding to the evolving work of evangelization in the Diocese, the ILM is implementing an exciting change to the first year curriculum.
“Encountering Christ” will be a 3-month intensive spiritual formation period focusing on prayer, spiritual practices, and discernment. As Christians, Christ is at the center of all we do. Pope Francis reminds us that, “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Evangelii Gaudium 7).
Using elements of our Catholic spiritual traditions, these incoming students will experience directed prayer, meditation, contemplation, and retreats, with a commitment to daily prayer. The formation team will consist of experienced retreat and spiritual directors. This process will be foundational for students’ theology classes which follow immediately as we attend to heart and head.
Together with pastors and parish staffs, the Institute administration and faculty collaborate to form leaders for our local church. In the past five years, almost 300 men and women have graduated from the Institute. Some of our alumni serve as employees in parish and diocesan ministries. Others are actively involved in parish ministries such as administration, community life, faith formation, liturgy, and pastoral care or serve the greater community through their work in social ministry. The Institute has trained individuals for leadership in the Diocese of San Jose since 1997.
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