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A Call for Lay Leadership in our Local Church

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By Carolina Scipioni  

Nothing can be more powerful than a Catholic who knows, practices, and proclaims the faith. These are the kind of Catholics that our Institute of Leadership in Ministry (ILM) is forming every day.   

Since its beginnings in 1998, ILM has strived to form passionate disciples in the Diocese of San Jose. Its core three-year program provides a solid foundation in Catholic theology and spirituality and leadership training. More than 1,000 faithful have graduated from the Institute since then, becoming more effective ministers in the variety of lay leadership roles they serve in their parishes, schools, and communities.  

Andrea Mesarosova first heard about ILM from fellow parishioners of St. Joseph in Mountain View who were alumni of the program. She was very impressed by their experience and became curious. “I have always been involved in church ministry, serving as a cantor, lector, eucharistic minister, and organizing social events for my parish,” Andrea shared. “Since I was born and raised in a different country, it crossed my mind that the ILM program might be a good opportunity to understand better the challenges of the Church in the United States and help me serve even more.”   

This year, Andrea graduates from the program and, while she has always been eager to serve, she now feels more prepared to do so. “My life with Christ is constantly evolving, like any other relationship. ILM helped me get to know our Lord better, come closer to Him, and focus on prayer – the most important aspect of leadership in ministry.”  

Ruben Belmont is also a 2020 graduate from the Spanish track of the ILM, and he is excited to put in practice all that he learned from the program. Ruben shares, “The ILM teaches that by making changes in your parish community, you can eventually impact the whole world. But you can’t even start until you study and experience the needs of people in your community.” He remembers clearly one particular class where his whole perspective changed based on a simple question that Fr. Walter Suarez asked the class: “Is the Kingdom of heaven in heaven? No! It’s here on earth, and it’s up to you.”  

Both Andrea and Ruben highly encourage other Catholics to join the program and become leaders in our Church. As Andrea explains, “It is an amazing opportunity to spiritually, intellectually, and personally grow together with wonderful teachers and classmates. ILM is a true spiritual home for ministers.”  

Are you being called to become a lay leader in our local Church?  

ILM is now accepting nominations for the academic year 2020-2021. Classes are in English or Spanish, and they begin in September 2020. The application forms can be found on the ILM Admissions page. The submission deadline is August 15.