The Archdiocese of Baltimore has entered into a ground-breaking partnership with the Our Sunday Visitor Institute for Catholic Innovation to offer parish leaders formation in “Catholic Design Thinking.” Learn more

Module 1- Making a Culture of Audacious Creativity the Path of Least Resistance

January 25, 2022
To best prepare to engage Catholic design thinking methodology, it is important from the very beginning to normalize “moonshot” ideas—those ideas that seek to solve a problem that, to many, may seem too bold, too out of the box, or too audacious. Catholic design thinking is not a methodology for solving basic everyday problems, but those that seem unconquerable. This session will empower participants to prime their parishes for change with the right language and posture to best lead for innovation, and prepare for the demanding work to come.

Part 1

Part 2

Module 2- Define the Problem and Observe with Empathy

February 24,2022
St. Anthony Shrine, Ellicott City
It is hard to move forward without a clear direction, and defining the problem while listening to what others are saying will help to provide the proverbial arrow of where the innovator needs to journey next. This module will teach the listener how to set aside presuppositions and actively listen to the needs of the parish community. The practitioner of empathetic listening will endeavor to learn what delights the end-user of a given parish offering, service, or program. Participants will also learn to spend time in the field, learning to observe with purpose, leveraging notes and photographs to assists in building new insights.

Module 3- Building Insights to Tell the Story

March 22, 2022
Within this module, design thinkers will learn how to build concise insights that will help to activate innovative thinking and creativity by leadership colleagues in a parish setting. Using the observations, interviews, and images gathered in the second module, participants will begin to tell the story behind the problem they are seeking to solve. This is a crucial step before brainstorming in that the design thinker can turn a problem and, potentially, a hypothesis, into a humanized anecdote primed to inspire.

Module 4- Idea Incubator

April 28, 2022
The great American author, winner of both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, John Steinbeck, once said, “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” If building insights through empathy and intentional observation is the foundation of the design thinking process, then idea incubation is the cornerstone. This module will train the design thinker to let their imagination run wild—only, they will do it on the clock. Good ideators understand that incubating the next big idea that will change the world requires a delicate balance of divergence and convergence, wrapped in a solid value proposition, and feedback from trusted allies, so that it can be made ready to prototype.

Module 5- Building the Prototype

May 24, 2022
Ideas are worthless until you get them out of your head or off the whiteboard and into the world to see what they can do. This module will take the brilliant idea generated during the fourth module and teach the innovation practitioner to prototype it, rapidly. This module will also help to correct the common misconception that only something physical can be prototyped— anything can be prototyped and the steps are more simple than you think.

Module 6- Test Your Low Fidelity Build

June 21, 2022
Taking all of the skills learned and the prototype that has been built, this module will allow the participant to see their work in action and discern whether their value proposition was correct. Does the parish really need or want what has been built? Does it work in real time with real people?

Module 7- Reflect and Pitch

August 25, 2022
After countless hours of observing, listening, ideating, building, and testing, it is finally time for the innovator to consider the results and mine the data. Now is the decision point: does this idea get scrapped in its entirety to begin the process again and pave the way for something new? Or will it be the time to hone and iterate so that what was a mere idea can finally be deployed to solve the original problem? Through prayer and reflection, the participant will discern whether to take their idea and turn it into a pitch.



The Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Institute for Evangelization is a new model for engagement with parishes seeking to realize their evangelizing mission more fully.
The Institute is composed of four offices that collaborate closely to ensure that support is never “one-size fits all” but can adapt to the changing needs of each parish community.


What is the Institute for Evangelization?

The Institute for Evangelization was created by Archbishop Lori in February 2021 and given its charge from A Light Brightly Visible 2.0. The Institute exists to support parishes and pastorates in their local evangelizing mission. It provides parish leaders with practical tools to clarify their vision, unify their parish, and mobilize for mission.

What is new about this approach?

The Institute is built on the idea of subsidiarity, which means that efforts should be carried out at the lowest level possible so that the parishes are empowered to make decisions on issues that affect them at the local level. Evangelization is done through relationships, so the Institute supports and equips parishes in their local evangelizing efforts and offers programs and ministries that require an archdiocesan response.

Have other dioceses and archdioceses created Institutes?

In recent years, many dioceses and archdioceses around the United States have recognized the growing need to support “New Evangelization” efforts. Some have created institutes, but few have created institutes that support parishes in the same manner that the Office for Parish Renewal and the “Emmaus Teams” supports parishes.

What are Emmaus Teams?

The Office of Parish Renewal has three teams, each with two Parish Renewal Specialists. Each team of two is called an Emmaus Team, which is rooted in the story of accompaniment on the road to Emmaus and Jesus’ exhortation to go two-by-two. These Specialists are well versed in the latest evangelization resources as well as organizational health tools. Every parish or pastorate will have an Emmaus Team.

What is the “New Evangelization”?

The new Evangelization speaks to the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel using new “ardor, methods, and expression.” In 1975, Saint Paul VI issued Evangelii Nuntandi, which is about evangelization in the modern world. From St. John Paul II to Pope Francis there has been a consistent exhortation to proclaim the Gospel using new “ardor, methods, and expression.”

Is Pastoral Planning still happening?

Yes. The Emmaus Teams will be able to support parishes and pastorates in their planning efforts. While the phased process for planning will look different each pastorate is expected to undergo planning and Emmaus Teams will be able to support pastorates in preparation for planning, during planning, and during the implementation process. These teams will ensure a seamless process of Archdiocesan support.