2019 BOWIE KUHN AWARD WINNER’S LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE HAS IMPACT ON ENTIRE U.S. CHURCH
Tim Flanagan estimates that the Catholic Leadership Institute, the Pennsylvania based nonprofit organization he founded, has provided parish leadership training to some 20 percent of all priests in the United States.
“They’ve gone on to have significant growth and impact in their parishes in the areas of evangelization with the programs they’ve brought through the training they’ve received, with the pastoral plans and visions they’ve put together,” said Flanagan, chairman of CLI.
Under Flanagan’s direction, CLI has gone on to provide leadership formation and consulting to clergy and lay leaders in more than 100 dioceses in the United States and around the world. For his efforts, Flanagan, 77, a member of the Philadelphia Chapter, is the recipient of Legatus’ 2019 Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization, which is named for the former Major League Baseball commissioner who was a devout Catholic. Flanagan recently spoke with Legatus magazine.
How does it feel to be given the Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization?
I’m really honored and humbled. Bowie was an outstanding Catholic leader who certainly was a great evangelizer. He started Baseball Chapel, a ministry for professional baseball people to deepen their Christian faith, and expanded it to over 100 major and minor league clubs in the United States. They currently minister to over 3,000 people.
By way of an interesting analogy of evangelization, the Catholic Leadership Institute has provided world-class leadership formation for over 3,000 priests through our “Good Leaders, Good Shepherds” program, and they’ve gone on to strengthen their parishes and develop them into really strong, faith-filled communities.
What is Catholic Leadership Institute’s mission?
We are equipping leaders and igniting hope in the Church. We do that by providing bishops, priests, religious, deacons, and lay people with world-class pastoral leadership formation and consulting services that strengthen their confidence and competence in their ministry, which enables them to articulate a vision for their local Church to call forth the gifts of those they lead, and to create more vibrant faith communities rooted in Jesus Christ.
What made you want to commit your life to developing Catholic leaders?
In 1989, on a corporate retreat, I was asked to write out a personal mission statement. While writing, I felt called to bring leadership to the Catholic Church. I had seen it in academia, in the military, and in business where millions of dollars were being spent to develop human potential, but I hadn’t seen that in the Church. That was an epiphany for me.
How much of leadership is dependent on personal temperament, talent, and aptitude?
There is such a thing as a born leader, and that’s a certain percentage of the population. There are people who you just look at and you know they have the skill sets to have followers and lead people. But we’re all called to leadership through our baptism in terms of evangelization. Anybody who was created by God has great potential. If they’re given the training and the skills, they can be more effective as a leader.
How has being a Legate impacted you spiritually and professionally?
Legatus has had a very significant impact in my life in allowing me to meet wonderful Catholic leaders, hear outstanding speakers at our chapter meetings, attend the Summits, and observe other Legates who have very meaningful Catholic-based lives. All that really opened up my own desire to explore my faith.
Professionally, Legatus has had a very high impact on the development of our organization. As we started to expand across the United States, it was always by working through other Legates in other chapters in other cities across the country