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University of Dallas Receives $1 Million Lilly Endowment Grant to Renew Liturgical Preaching for Young Catholics

IRVING, TX (Dec. 16, 2022) – The Institute for Homiletics at the University of Dallas was recently awarded a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help renew liturgical preaching and 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 to bring 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, their children, and their grandchildren. This grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will help us grow our capacity and 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 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 many aspiring and current preachers 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,” said Sanford. “Improved preaching can inspire all Catholics, and especially the young. We hope they can encounter Jesus and the Gospel message more deeply, which will impact their lives and those around them.”

About Lilly Endowment

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a 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. While those gifts remain the 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 development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. In addition, the Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.

About the University of Dallas

The University of Dallas is the premier Catholic liberal arts university in the country, nationally known for its undergraduate Core Curriculum. With campuses in Texas and Italy, UD is committed to the pursuit of wisdom, truth and virtue as the proper ends of education. For more information, visit udallas.edu.


Contact for information:

Clare Venegas, University of Dallas, cvenegas@udallas.edu / 949.892.8545 (cell)

Bill Kula, The Catholic Foundation, bkula@catholicfoundation.com / 972-331-1636 (office)

 

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