Marian University has hired Oscar Castellanos to serve as the director for the Initiative for Parish Renewal (Renovación). In October 2020, Marian University received a $994,318 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help build on the Latino Leadership Initiative with a parish-focused certificate program and curriculum supporting Renovación.
Renovación 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.
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.
“Renovación is a creative response to Pope Francis' invitation for ecclesial renewal and a pastoral conversion; both invitations come out of his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel,” Castellanos said. “Renovación invites local parishes and their leadership teams to engage in a more mission-oriented structure. We hope that all participants in the certification, along with their parish communities, prove capable of self-renewal and constant adaptability, especially as they navigate their realities as multicultural parishes. Accomplishing such an endeavor will ensure that the parish and institution will continue to manifest as a living Church.”
In his new role, Castellanos will implement Renovación by forming relationships with parish and diocesan partners, teaching modules for the Latino Ministry Leadership Certificate, creating a dynamic communications plan, and managing the day-to-day activities and budget.
Castellanos previously served as the director of intercultural ministry at the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, where he provided leadership and guidance to ministries that serve ethnic/cultural groups and advocated for diversity and developed intercultural competence in parishes, schools, and archdiocesan agencies. He is also currently working on a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Marian University.
“I joined Marian University because I trust its mission and vision statements,” Castellanos said. “Marian’s passion to engage in leadership development is my own passion, especially on new initiatives like Renovación.”
The goal for Renovación is to begin in November and the first online module to begin in January 2022.