UNDERSTANDING FAITH, PASTOR’S LEADERSHIP KEY TO THRIVING PARISH
Dan Cellucci, 36, is the CEO of the Catholic Leadership Institute, an apostolate that provides leadership training and consulting to more than 250 bishops, as well as thousands of priests, deacons, religious, and lay leaders across the country
Under Cellucci’s leadership, the Catholic Leadership Institute has embarked on an ambitious plan to define what the “Next Generation Parish” will look like in the next 10 years. Legatus magazine recently interviewed Cellucci, who will speak at the 2019 Legatus Summit.
What will you be speaking about at the Summit?
I’ll be speaking on the truth about where we are as a Church, as well as the research that we’ve been doing the last six years on parish life in the United States. We’ve surveyed over 100,000 parishioners in North America, so we have a really robust data set on what’s going on in our parishes and our Church.
What are some insights you will be sharing?
What we find and what we’re trying to help leaders recognize and respond to is that even with the people we are blessed to have in the pews, we have a lot of work to do to help them understand the truth, beauty, and goodness of the faith. They may be coming to church, but our research would show that they don’t necessarily know why.
Another insight I’ll be speaking to is just how important our leaders are and the effect that one pastor can have on a parish. Intuitively, I’m sure Legatus members know that, but statistically we have evidence to support that.
What is the Catholic Leadership Institute?
We are an apostolate that walks alongside our bishops, priests, and lay leaders in their challenges of leadership, whether that’s through training we provide, tools they can use, or even getting in the trenches with them and helping them execute a project or a strategy they want to implement. Our job is to really just equip them and inspire them to be who God called them to be.
What is going on with the Next Generation Parish project?
What we’re doing right now is basically picking 50 parishes in the United States to just invest everything we can into the leadership there, to walk alongside them and to see how much we can move the needle from a growth standpoint. We want to make sure that we’re not only providing relevant metrics for our priests, but that we’re also supporting them and doing something about it.
What is your message for Church leaders during this time of crisis and scandal?
I think the best advice is that of Pope Saint John Paul II, who said, “Be not afraid.” I think the crisis that we face is one of authenticity and courage more than anything else. All of us, certainly our bishops and priests, but all of us, are called to be courageous in this moment and to recognize it as a real opportunity for renewal, not to think that we can’t evangelize in this moment, because I actually believe this is the best moment to evangelize.
What have your previous interactions been like with Legatus?
I’ve been blessed to be a frequent presenter and guest at various chapters around the country. I always appreciate not only the caliber of speakers that Legatus attracts, but also just the caliber of conversation among chapters and really just the insightful questions as well as the degree of commitment that I see from Legatus members in their local Church. If there is one thing our research would say it is that that type of leadership on the part of lay men and women, like the men and women of Legatus, is absolutely essential to a vibrant Church.