The University of Notre Dame Receives $1.25 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

By Margaret Scroope

Holy Family InitiativeHoly Family Initiative

Notre Dame, IN–The University of Notre Dame has received a grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to expand the work of the McGrath Institute for Church Life’s Holy Family Initiative for Family Catechesis, which offers parents, caregivers, and Church leaders the tools they need to effectively pass on their Catholic faith to the next generation.

This effort is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children.

The Holy Family Initiative is a catechesis program that seeks to create a culture of affiliation in Hispanic Catholic families through formation, community building, prayer, and action. Through bilingual sessions, members of the McGrath Institute team offer dioceses and parishes new methods of affiliation aimed at overcoming the existing divisions between immigrant parents and growing numbers of first- and second-generation Hispanics born in the United States. The program seeks to build confidence in parishioners’ own ability to take ownership as the primary evangelizers for their families, and equip them with the spiritual tools to do so.

This grant will allow the McGrath Institute to expand this important work currently offered in parishes in the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Diocese of Raleigh.

“Through this program, we want to create lasting structures of affiliation that aren’t just institutional, but start in the domestic church, the heart of every parish,” said Katherine Angulo, M.A., director of the Thriving in Ministry Initiative at the McGrath Institute. “We are grateful to the Lilly Endowment whose generous grant will help us reach even more communities, inviting Catholic Hispanic families into a deeper understanding of the distinctive aspects of Christian parenting.”

“The McGrath Institute mission is to respond to the pastoral challenges facing today’s Church leaders, parishes, and dioceses, particularly in light of the issue of disaffiliation,” said John Cavadini, Ph.D., McGrath-Cavadini Director of the McGrath Institute. “Through collaborations like these, we are able to offer programming that serves the wonderfully unique needs of the multicultural Church.”

Notre Dame is one of 77 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian traditions.

“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and looking to churches and other faith-based organizations for support,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organizations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully as well as passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.

About the McGrath Institute for Church Life

The McGrath Institute for Church Life partners with Catholic dioceses, parishes, and schools to address pastoral challenges with theological depth and rigor. By connecting the Catholic intellectual life to the life of the Church, we form faithful Catholic leaders for service to the Church and the world.

Contact: Maggie Scroope, program director of communications, McGrath Institute for Church Life, 574-631-0153,