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Mount St. Mary’s University Receives Lilly Endowment Grant

lilly$250,000 award will enhance financial and administrative formation of Mount seminarians

Vast changes face Roman Catholic priests and pastors today, especially newly-ordained priests who are often asked to take on the management of parishes within three-to-five years after ordination.

A recent $250,000 grant from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. will support groundbreaking efforts by Mount St. Mary’s University and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary to build a distinctive formation experience in financial and administrative literacy for its seminarians.

“Mount St. Mary’s is well positioned to make a significant impact on the overall health of Catholic parishes throughout the country and the world,” said University President Thomas H. Powell. “As we train parish priests for their vocation, it is essential we provide them with the tools they need to be successful leaders and administrators, and we thank Lilly Endowment Inc. for supporting this vital initiative.”

According to Seminary Rector Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, priests today must demonstrate a variety of competencies related to personal financial management, parish financial management, and overall leadership — in addition to their pastoral duties.

“Priests must effectively manage their own finances and then successfully oversee the finances of the much larger corporation which is the parish,” says Msgr. Rohlfs. “Many priests will be asked to manage a cluster of parishes, making their financial knowledge even more crucial.”

The three-year grant provides funding to gather information from dioceses, conduct surveys of Mount seminarians and recently ordained priests, and develop new computer-aided learning modules designed to enhance seminarian learning in financial literacy and pastoral administration. A series of roundtable meetings will also serve to gather information and disseminate project findings.

This is a collaborative project for the Seminary. To develop the grant’s various activities and products, the Seminary will partner with the University’s Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business, the Office of Institutional Research, Information Technology, and the Mount’s Institute for Leadership, as well as numerous external partners.

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary is the largest Catholic seminary in the United States, and currently houses more than 170 men studying for the priesthood, representing 28 dioceses and three religious orders from nine countries.

“Mount St. Mary’s Seminary has a history of providing the Catholic Church with bold and insightful leadership,” said Msgr. Rohlfs. “Through the grant’s multi-faceted approach and cross-functional leadership model, we are taking important steps in remediating the financial and administrative challenges that parish priests face, to ensure they are well-prepared for the vocation to which God has called them.”

Lilly Endowment Inc. is one of the country’s largest private foundations. Founded in 1937 by J.K. Lilly and his two sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., the Endowment supports its founders’ interests in community development, education and religion.

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