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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Institute prepares for challenges ahead amid ever-changing Church

We are witnessing the evolving, ever-changing Church in the 21st century. (Arch)dioceses are restructuring their approach to the formation and leadership of parish life. 

The University of Dayton Institute for Pastoral Initiatives (IPI) is a Catholic global ministry that was set up to enhance the faith and pastoral leadership formation of dioceses, pastoral (parish) leaders and Catholic educators online and in person within the U.S. and around the world.

Our initiatives offer excellent means of passing on a distinctive vision for living the Christian life in contemporary times. Our Marianist spirituality calls us to be truly present with a loving and respectful presence to all those we serve. 

The primary mission has been and continues to be an outreach of the University and Marianist Community serving the local, national and global Catholic Church regarding pastoral, catechetical and lay leadership ministry formation programs.

Currently, IPI offers a variety of programs and consultative services in-person and online including:

  • Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF): Online catechetical, and pastoral leadership formation classes in English, Spanish and Arabic to approximately 7,000 Catholic adults worldwide each year. IPI has 90 diocesan partners including Arabic speaking communities (Apostolic Vicariate of Southern/Northern Arabia), as well as Hispanic communities in dozens of countries.
  • Forum for Young Catechetical Leaders:  A two-year program for undergraduate students preparing to become religion teachers and catechists; in collaboration with the Department of Religious Studies and Center for Catholic Education, and in partnership, service, education and pastoral guidance and consultation for the Global Church.
  • Forum for Hispanic Catholic Youth Leadership and Faith Formation brings together Hispanic youth from within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, in particular, for supporting their faith and lay ministry leadership vocation.
  • Christian Meditation Workshops in Catholic schools and parishes for cultivating meditation and contemplation.
  • Collaboration with the Caribbean School for Catholic Communication to prepare women and men for their communication roles in dioceses, parishes, or Catholic Schools.

In concert with the Church’s call toward the New Evangelization in a rapidly changing world, we strive to prophetically face the evolving challenges for proclaiming the Good News. Thus, the institute is currently creating a comprehensive strategic plan to prepare for the future. We invite you to help us with our mission. 

The Institute for Pastoral Initiatives is an extension of the evolution of the Office for Moral and Religious Education (1972), into the Center for Religious Communication (1983) and re-titled in 1996 to the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives. IPI reports to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and is located at the University of Dayton’s Curran Place. For more information about our programs, contact Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski, D.Min., MHSH, Executive Director, at

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