A New Center Initiative

The Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership

Following the success of UST’s Lilly Endowment program, Beyond Career to Calling, the Center for Catholic Studies isdeveloping a new Institute for Catholic Leadership named in honor of the parents of Monsignor James D. Habiger. In describing the need for a new vision of leadership in our time, Monsignor Habiger cited Proverbs 29:18, “Without a vision, the people perish.”

A look at the current state of the Church and wider society yields several conclusions: that there is a crisis of leadership in the Church and civil society as rapid change is occurring in many areas of life, and that a significant number of young Catholics are eager to take their faith seriously and shoulder responsibility in leadership but are often ill equipped to do so.

An initial challenge is to address the loss of leadership resulting from the decline in the numbers of priests and religious. The loss has not only been one of numbers. The diocesan priests and religious orders carried within them a commonly held vision, an integrated theological, spiritual and professional formation that uniquely prepared them to develop and direct a vast network of schools and colleges, hospitals, professional associations, charitable programs and the like. They were joined in the task by lay people who furthered these apostolates by their participation in the guiding vision and the formation provided by the sponsoring diocese or religious order.

The contemporary situation is vastly changed. Both in numbers and in clarity of focus, the influence of priests and religious in Catholic institutions has drastically declined. This decline has occurred just as the educational and professionalworld in general has increasingly fragmented and lost a clear sense of purpose andidentity. The Institute for Catholic Leadership will sustain a number of Lilly funded initiatives and develop new programs to address the challenge. Specifically, it will sponsor six projects: the Leadership Interns program; Catholic Studies community living: men’s and women’s households; professional leadership formation; the Latino Leadership program; the Catholic Studies Scholars program; and the Postdoctoral Fellows program.

In the following pages we highlight the Latino Leadership program and the LeadershipInterns program.

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