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February 21, 2024

One of the realities of our church these days is the decline in the number of priests in our parishes. There is a greater need than ever for the lay faithful to step up into leadership roles in parishes. Pope Francis, on June 17, 2016, spoke about this need:

“We need well-formed lay people, animated by a sincere and clear faith, whose life has been touched by the personal and merciful love of Christ,” he said. “We need lay people who take risks, who get their hands dirty, who are not afraid to make mistakes, who have a vision of the future …”

Looking to the future and realizing this need in our diocese, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Watertown established a foundation to support the development of lay leaders willing to “get their hands dirty.” The Sisters’ charism, or the particular way in which the community lives out the Gospel, is one of unity, reconciliation and the living of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy for the dear neighbor. Grants of up to $4,000 are awarded to sponsoring organizations that support leadership training.

The grants can support existing programs or new programs, particularly programs celebrating the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Several grants have been awarded to parishes to help support the education of parish life coordinators, deacon formation, principal formation and candidates in the Formation for Ministry program.

If you or someone you know is currently active in a leadership role in a diocesan parish, school or established program or is in training, requests for applications for the grant can be made to Sister Ellen Rose Coughlin, SSJ, Sisters of St. Joseph Foundation, 1425 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601.

The grant cycle begins February 1 and runs through April 24.

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