The Institute for Homiletics at the University of Dallas was recently awarded a one-million-dollar grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help renew liturgical preaching to better reach Catholic youth and young adults. The Institute is a collaborative endeavor of The Catholic Foundation (Dallas) and the University of Dallas.
The five-year grant made to the University of Dallas will enable the Institute for Homiletics to implement the Into Deeper Waters: Renewing Liturgical Preaching to Reach Young Catholics initiative. The project will develop resources to respond to two pressing needs of the Catholic Church: 1) the need to improve liturgical preaching so that it brings the people into an encounter with the living God, and 2) the need for effective preaching at Mass to reach and impact the lives of Catholic youth and young adults.
“We are just getting launched as an organization. We have high hopes,” says Dr. Karla Bellinger, executive director of the Institute. “I am grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for trusting in our potential to impact Catholic liturgical preaching. The lay faithful are thoroughly convinced about the need for better preaching in the context of the Mass; they have already been generous in endowing our operations fund. They hunger for more compelling preaching — for themselves, for their children, and for their grandchildren. This grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will help us to grow our capacity and our outreach, especially in teaching priests and deacons to better connect with the young Catholic Church.”
“The University of Dallas is proud to be the home of the Institute for Homiletics and grateful to The Catholic Foundation for such a fruitful partnership,” said University of Dallas President Jonathan J. Sanford. “We are tremendously grateful as well for the Lilly Endowment’s generous support to improve the effectiveness of liturgical preaching among youth and young adults, who are the future of the Church.”
The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The Institute for Homiletics is one of 32 organizations that will benefit from funding made in an invitational round of grants for the Compelling Preaching Initiative, which is designed to help Christian preachers strengthen their abilities to proclaim the gospel in more engaging and effective ways.
“We are excited about the work that these organizations will do to foster and support preaching that better inspires, encourages and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Their programs will serve a significant number of aspiring and current preachers who are working to reach and engage increasingly diverse audiences both within and beyond congregations.”
The Compelling Preaching Initiative is part of the Endowment’s longstanding interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.
“As a Catholic university dedicated to educating young adults faithfully and excellently, we are especially attuned to the effect that good preaching and good teaching can have in drawing them more deeply into the fullness of truth,” Sanford said. “Improved preaching can inspire all Catholics, and especially the young. We hope that they can encounter Jesus and the Gospel message more deeply, which will make a lasting impact on their lives and those around them.”
Learn more about Lilly Endowment Inc. on their website.