Loyola University Chicago

University Newsroom

Press Release - January 14, 2022

Anna Shymanski Zach

 Loyola University Chicago Receives Major Grant from Lilly Endowment to Support Pastoral Leaders in Latinx and Hispanic Communities

CHICAGO - January 14, 2022 - Loyola University Chicago has received a grant of nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to launch a groundbreaking series of projects that will expand, enhance, and deepen educational outreach and programming to Latinx/Hispanic populations to reflect more authentically and intentionally the shifting demographics of the Church in the 21st Century.

The five-year Miguel Pro, S.J. Iniciativa de Protagonismo Pastoral, or Miguel Pro, S.J. Pastoral Protagonism Initiative, has been developed by Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS), and consists of several interlocking components that will expand and support IPS programs for outreach to and formation of new religious leaders.  Associate Professor Michael Canaris, associate professor in IPS, and Mariana Miller, assistant dean for continuing education, worked with partners at Loyola to draft the vision for the project and will serve as its principal investigators and lead coordinators.  The initiative is named for the martyred Jesuit priest and pastoral trailblazer Miguel Pro, S.J., who was executed as a political prisoner in Mexico.

Supported by Lilly Endowment, IPS will deepen and intensify recruiting efforts in Latinx and Hispanic communities by drawing on existing relationships and establishing new ones, and create a new program to focus on the professional development and accompaniment of clergy and deacons from those communities that culminates in a summer residency at Loyola’s Rome campus. In addition, the Iniciativa will help IPS to offer new, fully online Pastoral Leadership programs in Spanish, will expand and enhance the Escuela de Sagrada Escritura, and create a fellowship program for emerging scholars at the doctoral level. The Lilly grant will support the design and presentation of courses related to Hispanic pastoral ministry, liberation theology, and theologies of migration that will be open to graduate students in the bilingual MA in Pastoral Studies, the L/H Leadership Certificate program, IPS alumni, and members of the community at large.

“This multidimensional Iniciativa provides a structured and ambitious but achievable plan to strengthen our educational and financial capacities to prepare and support pastors and congregational lay ministers for the long term,” said Peter Jones, interim dean of IPS. “The work will lead to an authentic iteration of integrative, enculturating, and inclusive education consonant with Loyola’s Jesuit mission.”

The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative, a three-phase initiative designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations both now and into the future.

The Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago is one of 84 theological schools that are receiving a total of more than $82 million in grants through the second phase of the Pathways initiative. Together, the schools represent evangelical, mainline Protestant, nondenominational, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic and Black church and historic peace church traditions (e.g., Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, Quakers). Many schools also serve students and pastors from Black, Latino, Korean American, Chinese American and recent immigrant Christian communities. The grant to IPS totals $971,249.

“Theological schools have long played a pivotal role in preparing pastoral leaders for churches,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Today, these schools find themselves in a period of rapid and profound change.  Through the Pathways Initiative, theological schools will take deliberate steps to address the challenges they have identified in ways that make the most sense to them.  We believe that their efforts are critical to ensuring that Christian congregations continue to have a steady stream of pastoral leaders who are well-prepared to lead the churches of tomorrow.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Pathways initiative in January 2021 because of its longstanding interest in supporting efforts to enhance and sustain the vitality of Christian congregations by strengthening the leadership capacities of pastors and congregational lay leaders. 

About the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago
The Institute of Pastoral Studies facilitates the integrated ministerial development of diverse and dynamic leaders for creative, compassionate, and courageous service to church and society.  IPS is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. IPS degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality, Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies, Master of Arts in Counseling for Ministry, Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling, and the Master of Arts in Social Justice, as well as a number of certificates, comprehensive online (distance education) programs, and ongoing initiatives in Rome and the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with more than 16,600 students. Nearly 11,500 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University features 14 schools, colleges, and institutes. Ranked a top national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community developmenteducation and religion and maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.  The primary aim of its grant making in religion, which is national in scope, focuses on strengthening the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States. The Endowment also seeks to foster public understanding about religion and lift up in fair, accurate and balanced ways the contributions that people of all faiths and religious communities make to our greater civic well-being.