On Thursday, May 30, 2019, the Most Rev. Donald Kettler, Bishop of Saint Cloud celebrated a Baccalaureate Mass for the local graduates of the Instituto de Liderazgo Pastoral’s Hispanic Lay Leadership program. Nelly Lorenzo, Director of the Instituto, delivered an address to the graduates, after which the Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, awarded the diplomas.
The celebration was the culmination of two years of collaboration between the University of Saint Mary of the Lake and the Dioceses of Saint Cloud, New Ulm, and Winona. Fifty-six women and men were recognized for their accomplishments. The collaboration, the first of its kind for the Instituto, involved delivering formation on site in the Diocese of Saint Cloud, without resorting to impersonal technology. “Ministry is a human encounter,” said Father Baima after the Baccalaureate Mass, “Our face-to-face formation model, while demanding to deliver at a distance, offers a model of pastoral interaction for the students.”
The Lay Leadership program is one of the largest certificate programs of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. The two-year, part-time program offers academic classes and formation conferences to equip persons, chosen by their pastor, to assume roles of leadership in their parish. The two-year certificate also serves as the prerequisite for higher certificates in catechetical leadership and diaconal studies. Offered fully in Spanish by bi-lingual faculty, the program allows student to engage theology in their first language. “Doing theological reflection can be deeper when you do it in the language you dream in,” said Nelly Lorenzo. “Language is inseparable from culture, so our program is not simply the English program translated into Spanish. All aspects of it emerge from the Hispanic Catholic experience.”
The Instituto de Liderazgo Pastoral is one of five university institutes which, along with Mundelein Seminary, comprise the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. Instituto programs have served the Archdiocese of Chicago and five other dioceses for their Hispanic ministry formation needs.