The Valley Catholic August 20, 2019 - Page 7 | August 20, 2019 COMMUNITY 7 What is the Institute for Leadership in Ministry? By Joanna Thurmann Since its beginnings in 1998, the Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM) has endeavored to form passion- ate disciples in the Diocese of San José. That work has borne abundant fruit. Over 1,000 have graduated from the Institute since then. Through classes in scripture, church history, sacraments, spirituality, Catholic Social Teaching, and more, the ILM prepared them to become more effective ministers in the variety of lay leadership roles they serve in their parishes, schools, and communities. At the end of each academic year, graduates express their heartfelt grati- tude not only for the knowledge they have acquired, but also for the love they have shared and the renewed passion they have felt to work alongside each other in the vineyard. We share the stories of two graduates, on how the ILM has shaped their ministry since completing the program. We are now accepting applica- tions for the fall and encourage you to consider the program. For additional information visit, or contact us at (408) 983-0110. By Paul Dominic, Class of 2019 Since immigrating to the U.S. and being a good Sunday Christian and doing pretty much nothing else, I was pulled into becoming an active partici- pant in the parish Community Service Ministry, Saint Vincent de Paul, parish council, school council, eucharistic minister, small prayer group leader and Cursillista. I’ve generally been a busybody with lots of questions and not many answers. After resisting 7 years of invitations from my parish priest (mostly Father Michael Carson), largely because I did not know what it took to do the ILM course, I finally decided to jump into the course in 2016 after being asked by Father Thuc Si Ho just once. At every step of moving from someone uninterested in the Catholic commu- nity to feeling connected to it, I made a conscious decision, with the help Holy Family’s Wheelchair Drive Exceeds Goal The Saint Ignatius of Loyola Coun- cil #12853 at Holy Family Church in San José, sponsored its second an- nual Wheelchair Sunday at all parish Masses. On one weekend, parishioners contributed over $18,650 to the Global Wheelchair Mission – enough to pur- chase almost 124 wheelchairs. This exceeded the previous year by over 40% and for the first-time provided funds for more than 100 wheelchairs. At each Mass, the Knights explained the goals of the Mission and that since the program began in 2003, wheelchairs have been delivered to men, women and children unable to purchase them in the United States, Argentina, Co- lombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, Canada, and Viet- nam. U.S. military Veterans also have received chairs under this Knights of Columbus effort. Alpha Is Coming to Saint Frances Cabrini Parish Alpha is a series of fifteen interac- tive sessions, held over eleven weeks, where anyone can explore life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open, and informal environment. The Alpha Course begins with an introductory dinner on September 11 at 6:30 p.m., at the Saint Francis Cabrini Parish Center, 15333 Woodard Rd., San José. Participants will meet weekly thereafter on Wednesday evenings. Midway through the course, there will be an on-grounds weekend retreat. Each session includes a simple meal and a presentation, followed by a dis- cussion of the evening’s topic. Partici- pation is free, and all that is asked is a small donation towards meals. Alpha pertains to Jesus. He is the beginning and the end of our lives. Alpha is designed to deepen our faith and develop a personal relationship with Jesus. It clarifies what we believe about our Trinitarian God and equips us with how to share it. The Alpha Course has been presented at various parishes throughout the years in the Diocese of San José, and Saint Frances Cabrini will be hosting its 4th Annual Alpha. You are encouraged to bring fam- ily and friends. If you would like to attend, please contact Alicia Morales at or (408) 857-0523. of the Holy Spirit, to step-up and do something. The San José Diocese’s 3-year forma- tion program, the Institute for Leader- ship in Ministry, was one of the best things that happened to me, both on a personal and spiritual level. The sur- prising amount of knowledge imparted by lay people who were highly quali- fied kept me grounded and excited. The friends and network that we created for ourselves to support each other was amazing and still is, even after completion. The depth of spirituality among my classmates was a constant source of strength. The foremost question that I am always asked about the ILM is – “Was it difficult to study?” This question, I could not understand completely (per- haps it is my immigrant background). For me, any worthwhile achievement is a little difficult; everything difficult becomes easy with prayer and faith. If you trust, this is the easiest course in the world, and the best part is the ILM team and the course content makes it happen - all you need to do is listen. And my journey continues... Amen. By Claus Dahm, Class of 2019 The Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM) has been a tremendous boost for me, spiritually, intellectually and pastorally. I am able to apply what I have learned in my primary ministry, RCIA. In addition, the ILM has given me a deeper understanding of my faith and a stronger faith vocabulary. I am able to better articulate my faith and Catholic teachings.