Marian University Receives Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Support Initiative for Parish Renewal/Iniciativa Parroquial de Renovación

by News Release | Oct 23, 2020

Marian fountainMarian University has received a grant of $994,318 from Lilly Endowment Inc. that 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 through the initiative. The grants will support organizations as they work directly with congregations and help them gain clarity about their values and missions, explore and understand better the communities in which they serve, and draw upon their theological traditions as they adapt ministries to meet changing needs.

Renovación will equip pastoral leadership teams to transform Latin@ serving parishes into thriving missionary communities, together with their congregations, in service to the world through theological education and innovative ministerial practices.

“Marian University's identity as a Catholic Franciscan institution is grounded in Jesus Christ and His call to serve,” said Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener. “Our faith is ever present and visible in the fabric of the educational philosophy and operation of the university. Marian’s call to serve and meet the needs of the community in our wonderful city and beyond is reflected in the Latin@ Leadership Initiative. Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative provides the Marian University community with the resources necessary to more effectively partner with Latin@ communities through Renovación and to provide spiritual, educational, and leadership development programs.”

The program will support pastors in collaborative ministry, provide lay leaders with theological education, lead parishioners through a retreat process of discernment and empowerment, create small parish communities to support the spiritual lives of families, implement innovative mission plans with sensitivity to the needs of the parishes and serve the local community, and gather the parishes together at Marian University for a fiesta of faith for the entire family.

“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, 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. Our theology faculty have a long history of preparing pastoral leaders through the San Damiano Scholars Program, the seminarians of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary, and the Missionary Disciples Institute. By aligning this success with our innovative Latin@ Leadership Initiative, we are excited about what is to come through Renovación.”

Marian University is one of 92 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, and Marian is one of eight Catholic organizations and one of three Catholic Colleges to receive this grant. The university is also one of four grantees in the state of Indiana. 

“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.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Thriving Congregations Initiative in 2019 as part of its commitment to support efforts that enhance the vitality of Christian congregations.

“This grant will allow us to create a program that is key to advancing our Latin@ Leadership Initiative strategic plan, said Manuela Salazar, executive director of Marian University’s Latin@ Leadership Initiative. “The creation of a center for faith, life, and culture is a priority for us. 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." 

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education, and community development. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s grantmaking in religion is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen their pastoral and lay leadership.

 About Marian University Indianapolis

Founded in 1937, Marian University is the only Catholic university in Indianapolis and central Indiana. In 2020, Marian is serving more than 2,400 undergraduate and 1,160 graduate students earning degrees in the arts, business, education, engineering, math, medicine, nursing, ministry, and the natural and physical sciences. The university’s high-impact, experiential curriculum is designed to provide hands-on, collaborative learning opportunities for students from 40 states and 23 nations. Marian climbed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Midwestern rankings to be named #6 Most Innovative Regional University, #15 Best Value University, and #30 Best Regional University. Marian University opened its College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2013, making it the first new school of medicine in the state of Indiana in 110 years. Marian’s national champion varsity athletic programs include the 2012 and 2015 NAIA Football Championship, the 2016 and 2017 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship, the 2019 NAIA Women’s Volleyball Championship, and more than 40 USA Cycling national championships.

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