INSPIRE, a partnership initiative of Loyola University Chicago and the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, serves the communion and mission of Church as expressed in parish life. We exist through the generous support of the Lilly Endowment Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program. The project aims to assist Pastoral Leadership Teams as they develop capacity for collaborative pastoral leadership. Together, leaders envision concrete ways to connect ministries and serve their communities.
With the assistance of professional consultation, each team writes individually tailored personal and team learning plans. Consistent with the terms of the grant provider, financial resources support the learning commitments. As persons learn to serve common mission by aligning diverse gifts and ministerial skills, they achieve new forms of Catholic Pastoral Excellence. Often, these remarkable leaders beget other leaders and foster other forms of parishioner leadership.
The INSPIRE Project grant will come to an end during calendar year 2013. Its work will be sustained and expanded upon at Loyola University Chicago through Parish Leadership and Management Programs offered by the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS), and departmental initiatives at the Archdiocese of Chicago. Both Loyola University Chicago and the Archdiocese of Chicago are committed to maintaining the unique institutional partnership that has been thoughtfully crafted and nurtured over INSPIRE’s nine-year tenure.
In 2004 Loyola University Chicago and the Archdiocese of Chicago received a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., through its national program Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE). For five years, INSPIRE served archdiocesan parishes by helping pastoral staffs work, pray, and serve together as Pastoral Leadership Teams.
In 2009 INSPIRE received a second SPE grant and also matching contributions from Loyola University Chicago and the Archdiocese of Chicago. We were graced with an opportunity to build a totally new kind of proactive service to pastors and staffs. The Sustainability Grant helps us sustain and broaden INSPIRE’s work and deepen its capacity to serve culturally and socioeconomically diverse parish communities.
Future initiatives will build upon INSPIRE’s experience with education, consultation, and research. The work starts with forming strong pastoral leadership. Patterns of independence and isolation are replaced with shared spirituality, communication and joined services. Disciplined ministerial collaborations position each parish to cultivate a rich, distinctive mission and vision. Parishioners join in, helping communities become fully alive, fostering growth of persons and families, and engaging ministries of healing, social outreach, evangelization, and stewardship. In response to Christ’s great command and the universal Church’s call to serve, common mission animates parish life. Parishes become graced communities of excellence.
Continuing the vital relationship between University and Archdiocese, future efforts by the two institutions will also reach out to the wider Church nationally and even internationally, serving parishes, dioceses, and Catholic organizations. Initiatives begun with INSPIRE will grow, including ground-breaking work on pastoral and community transitions, international priests in U.S. parishes, pre-pastorate formation, theological reflection on the local parish community, and European pastoral exchange and learning programs.
Faithful to the Jesuit mission of service to Church and world, the Institute of Pastoral Studies puts the interdisciplinary resources of the country’s largest Jesuit institution of higher learning on the ground, where local communities of faith are grown and nourished. We invite you to join us, and invest in the present and future of Church where people and families gather to give thanks and praise, to celebrate, reconcile, heal, and are sent forth to love, serve, and share the Good News.
Read what the Duke Divinity School’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program has to say about INSPIRE:
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