Institute for Church Life

Overview

The Institute for Church Life lies at the heart of the University of Notre Dame’s direct service to the Church through outreach in theological education, research, faith formation, and leadership development.

Taking up the themes of evangelization and healing as its integrating vision the institute seeks to serve the Church through contributing to the formation of faithful Catholic leadership, assisting the Church in addressing current challenges with responses appropriate to the teaching and research mission of a preeminent Catholic university, and inspiring a renewed Catholic imagination in the U.S. Church through new scholarship and research, both within and beyond the Notre Dame community.

Through its flagship programs, the Institute for Church Life offers unsurpassed opportunities for growth in faith and leadership to constituents on campus, in our parishes, and in most of the dioceses across the country. With programs designed for all age groups, and drawing from a world-renowned faculty, the institute shapes Catholic leadership at all levels through comprehensive intellectual and spiritual engagement of undergraduate students, by providing intensive faith formation and catechetical training for graduate students, by creating opportunities for faculty to engage their Catholic faith, and by offering excellent resources to bishops, priests, deacons and lay catechists. Our conferences originate at the University but ultimately have an impact well beyond our own campus.

Drawing on the resources of the University, the institute is distinctively able to foster research, education, programming, and conversation that lift the imagination to further the evangelization and healing dynamic within and beyond the Church.

Goals

The Institute for Church Life has identified three defining goals as part of its strategic planning process, each of which advances two or more of the five University-wide goals.

1. Form faithful Catholic leadership within the Notre Dame community

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit

Strategies

  1. Cultivate a love of the Church among Notre Dame undergraduate students through a comprehensive, three-part approach to formation: pre-evangelization, catechesis, and leadership development
  2. Promote educational opportunities for the Notre Dame community in partnership with the Alumni Association
  3. Build a larger potential clientele for the Master of Arts in Theology Program in collaboration with the Theology Department
  4. Create innovative experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and benefactors

2. Assist the Church in addressing current challenges with responses appropriate for the teaching and research mission of a leading Catholic University

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten
  • Goal V: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Meet the growing need in the U.S. Catholic Church for theological and pastoral outreach in a multicultural context, specifically to the Hispanic/Latino and African American communities
  2. Elevate the central role of the parish in the life of the Church through theological and sociological research and programming
  3. Address the needs of Catholic schools in the area of Catholic theology
  4. Identify needs and provide resources and programming for catechesis and formation of parents
  5. Engage ecclesial leadership, including bishops, priests, deacons and lay catechists, in ongoing discussion about the needs of the Church through conferences and structured conversations

3. Inspire and cultivate a renewed Catholic imagination both within and beyond the Notre Dame community by identifying and promoting new scholarship and research

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten

Strategies

  1. Preserve and strengthen the Marian character and heritage of Notre Dame through the creation of an initiative on Marian scholarship and devotion
  2. Enhance and develop the Human Dignity Project within the Office of Human Dignity and Life Initiatives
  3. Engage with faculty members to develop projects and events that advance the Catholic intellectual tradition
  4. Build opportunities to facilitate a creative dialogue between science and religious faith, particularly from the vantage point of Catholic faith, doctrine, and practice
  5. Develop Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization into a nationally respected online periodical, published once each quarter 

Learn more about the Institute for Church Life by visiting icl.nd.edu