November 27, 2020

Marian receives nearly $1 million grant to develop faith of Latino communities

Special to The Criterion

Marian University in Indianapolis has received a grant of nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to partner with Latino communities to provide spiritual and faith development programs.

The grant of $994,318 will help build on the Latin@ Leadership Initiative with a parish-focused certificate program and curriculum supporting the Initiative for Parish Renewal/Iniciativa Parroquial de Renovación (Renovación).

The program is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to strengthen Christian congregations so they can help people deepen their relationships with God, build strong relationships with each other, and contribute to the flourishing of local communities and the world.

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $93 million in grants available through the initiative.

“Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative provides the Marian University community with the resources necessary to more effectively partner with Latino communities through Renovación and to provide spiritual, educational and leadership development programs,” said Marian University President Daniel Elsener.

The program will support pastors in collaborative ministry, provide lay leaders with theological education, lead parishioners through a retreat process of discernment and empowerment, and create small parish communities to support the spiritual lives of families.

“Marian University believes the Holy Spirit is at work in the Catholic Church through the Latino community, but so many obstacles prevent Latino-serving parishes from thriving,” said Adam Setmeyer, Marian’s vice president of mission and ministry and director of campus ministry. “Through Renovación, we will partner with parish leadership teams to cultivate missionary communities that will bring Christ’s light to the world.”

Marian University is one of 92 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions. Marian is one of eight Catholic organizations and one of three Catholic colleges to receive this grant.

“In the midst of a rapidly changing world, Christian congregations are grappling with how they can best carry forward their ministries,” said Christopher Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These grants will help congregations assess their ministries and draw on practices in their theological traditions to address new challenges and better nurture the spiritual vitality of the people they serve.”

“The creation of a center for faith, life and culture is a priority for us,” said Manuela Higgins, executive director of Marian’s Latin@ Leadership Initiative. “The Latin@ Leadership Initiative is not just about supporting Latino students, but also having a positive impact on their families and the entire Latino community. This grant will get us there, and we are expecting great results.” †

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