Established in 1997, the Catherine of Siena Institute is a program of the Western Dominican Province dedicated to equipping parishes for the formation of lay Catholics for their mission to the world. The Institute, directed by Fr. Michael Fones, OP and Sherry Weddell, provides innovative resources and programming that are faithful to the teaching of the Church and will enable parishes to become lively and dynamic centers of evangelization and formation.
The Church clearly teaches that all of the baptized are called by Christ to proclaim his Gospel in the world. However, rarely do parishes provide a formation that prepares Catholics for so great a mission. The Catherine of Siena Institute seeks to bridge the gap between the Church’s vision for the laity and their participation in the Church’s essential mission of evangelization, and the typical reality within the parish where there is little awareness of the mission of the Church, lay responsibility for the proclamation of the Gospel, and the necessity of lay formation for effective participation in evangelization.
Pope John Paul, II taught that "Formation is not the privilege of a few, but a right and duty of all." (Christifideles Laici, 63.) The Catherine of Siena Institute works to ensure that every Catholic has access to a formation that:
- Is distinctly lay in approach, spirituality, and focus;
- Is deeply rooted in the Tradition and Magisterial teaching of the Church;
- Calls each baptized man and women to intentional discipleship
- Fosters integration of faith, work, and relationships;
- Takes seriously the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to every Christian;
- Enables each one to discern more deeply God's unique call in his or her own life;
- Prepares him or her to be an effective, creative apostle in the midst of the world;
- Encourages collaboration between the clergy and laity in mission to the world; and
- Is geared to the real lives of working adults.
At the Catherine of Siena Institute, we work to make apostolic formation and support readily available to all lay Catholics by:
- Making evangelization and self-formation resources available to lay Catholics and developing new resources as needed.
- Equipping parishes to become centers of evangelization and formation, discernment, and apostolic support for the laity.
- Forming clergy, religious, and lay leaders to be effective evangelizers and formators of lay people.
- Fostering awareness, discussion, theological inquiry, and pastoral consultation throughout the Church regarding the evangelization, apostolic mission, and formation of the laity.
- Collaborating with interested individuals, groups, and organizations in the service of this mission.