The Lay Centre’s summer program on lay leadership ran for the third time this past July 9-14. The innovative program, aimed particularly at young adults, is designed to unleash the potential of lay leaders to contribute to the Church's most pressing challenges. The balanced and efficient format, which includes sessions with speakers from Rome and the United States, also allows for participants to visit the city and its historical sites.
While attending the week, program participants had a weeklong experience of community life at The Lay Centre, which might inspire them to return to Rome for a longer stay, to study or to work. Participants came from Afghanistan, Brazil, Cameroon, Hungary, Mexico, Pakistan, South Korea, Ukraine and the United States.
Designed together with Letty Garcia, associate director at Harvard Business School, the Summer Leadership Development Program focused on the needs of young professionals who work — or wish to work — in Church institutions. While participants can be from any field or profession, they are united in their commitment to discerning a call to serve others, motivated to tackle some of the Church’s biggest challenges.
The weeklong program takes a holistic approach to leadership formation, including the human, spiritual and intellectual dimensions. This is an evolution of the pilot program that The Lay Centre held in previous years with members of its resident community. In the second year, the program was open to outsiders as well, which proved to be very positive.
This time, the goal was to propose an entirely new program, designed specifically for an external cohort.
“I especially liked how the program combined an understanding of leadership with the traditions of the Church and its vision for the laity, which really resonated with me as a young lay person working in the Church,” one participant said.
The topics addressed included: What is Leadership?; Exploring Your Call to Leadership; Leadership Perspectives from the Rules of St. Benedict; Spiritual Conversation and Leadership; Letting Go of Fear and Saying ‘Yes’ to Leadership; Leadership and Self-Awareness; Communicating Joy in a World in Crisis; A workshop on Synodality; and Leading with Purpose.
“The program helped me to understand my gifts and purpose in a concrete way. It gave me actionable steps in discernment and concrete leadership and career advice. Also, it gave me an opportunity for prayer and conversation to help me discern the next steps for my future,” another person said.
How to apply
The next Summer Leadership Development Program will take place in the second week of July 2024. While applicants can be from any field or profession, they are united in their commitment to discerning a call to serve as leaders motivated to tackle some of the Church's biggest challenges.
The program is designed for lay leaders with diverse experiences and backgrounds and at least three years of professional experience – however exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.
Focused on developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence, participants of this program will define their own path to authentic leadership and return to their daily work, ready to lead with greater enthusiasm and confidence.
If you are interested, please contact email@example.com. There are scholarships available to cover the cost of the program.