Share this story

 | Mike Ruppert, Class of 2024 

To Whom is Given Much will be Expected ILM Graduation Speech

Fellow graduates, when we applied to the Institute at the urging of our pastors, few of us could have anticipated the depth of learning and knowledge we would be given from so many distinguished and inspirational teachers in the subsequent three years. It is with profound gratitude that we thank the Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM) faculty members and staff, all of whom devoted themselves to our proper formation, and to Bishop Cantú, a faculty member himself, for his continued support of the ILM program. 

Beginning with the first module on prayer taught by Sister Pat Galli, the ILM carefully curated a curriculum and chose men and women who were experts in their fields to give us a broad education on many topics from Hebrew Scriptures, evangelization, to conflict management, and Catholic Social Teaching. In our three-year apprenticeship we worked alongside and learned from diocesan and religious priests, deacons, women religious and lay persons. They were university professors, canon lawyers, scholars, and spiritual masters. During our first year, one of our instructors emphatically told us that “The ILM is not just a personal enrichment program!”   That was a little unsettling, but it resonated with all of us who wish to dedicate ourselves to service through ministry. 

The Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium states “it is their noble duty to shepherd the faithful and to recognize their ministries and charisms, so that all according to their proper roles may cooperate in this common undertaking with one mind” (Lumen Gentium, 30). This is the role of the laity to work to extend the divine plan of salvation according to our abilities. As ILM graduates, our pastoral approaches to our ministries have been greatly, and more positively, transformed, and it is safe to say that we all will now approach our leadership roles with greater confidence. Starting now, we must exercise and further develop what we have learned in ILM, so that we continue to grow from here. 

Lumen Gentium continues “our mission is also to zealously participate in the saving work of the Church,” (LG, 33) which includes enthusiastically helping our pastors. What a privilege it is for us to participate in this saving work with our spiritual shepherds who are counting on us to approach our ministries with renewed vigor and creativity, incorporating the skills we have been given, and willingly accepting positions of greater responsibility. 

If the Church expects this level of commitment from the laity, how much more is required from an ILM graduate who has been given so much formation? Luke’s Gospel teaches, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Lk 12:48 NABRE). This passage from Holy Scripture invites us to reflect on this fact in view of each one’s respective ministries. Years from now, when we remember this day as marking a new beginning in our lives of ministerial service, may we also rejoice in what God has done, with our cooperation, through the gifts we received from ILM. May God bless the ILM and the class of 2024!

Mike, his wife Julie, and daughter Samantha have been parishioners and active volunteers at St. Christopher for over 20 years.  He runs his family business and is a member of the Legion of Mary and the Knights of Columbus.  He enjoys the outdoors, hunting and cooking, especially BBQ.