Passionists receive $1.25M from Lilly Endowment for innovative preaching program

Sunday to Sunday Productions

A cutting edge community technology for contemplative prayer and preaching education

NEW YORK — Saint Paul’s Benevolent Educational and Missionary Institute (The Passionists) is excited to announce a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., awarded in collaboration with Emmy Award-winning Sunday to Sunday Productions. 

This grant supports the establishment of “CALLED: A New Approach to Preaching Education and Practice,” an innovative program aimed at transforming preaching education through contemplation, community engagement, and advanced technology. 

The grant has been awarded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative, and is set to establish a groundbreaking immersive preaching program aimed at transforming both preachers and lay participants alike. 

CALLED is set to revolutionize homiletics education by offering a completely unique educational and formational experience, rooted in spiritual practices, community and skill-building exercises that foster attentiveness and compassion. 

CALLED redefines preaching into a shared experience that will enrich the lives of both lay and religious ministers by: 

  • Inviting practitioners to engage with a preaching curriculum tailored to their individual faith formation and spiritual journey. 
  • Facilitating a deep immersion in faithful practices and prayer to nourish, renew, and inform the preaching process. 
  • Integrating workshops, learning modules, retreats, reflective practices, and group learning sessions over a period of eight months. 
  • Leveraging Los Angeles based HeroBridge’s cutting-edge digital media technology, that will allow members to access the CALLED community through a secure web and mobile-based platform to access highly curated resources, relationship, curriculum and mentorship. 

Fr. Jim O’Shea of the The Passionists expressed enthusiasm about the initiative, stating, 

“CALLED represents a transformative step forward in how we approach preaching education. By combining contemplative practices with modern methodologies, we aim to empower preachers to authentically connect with their congregations and inspire meaningful spiritual growth.”

Fr. John Gribowich, Program Director of CALLED, added, 

“This grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. is a testament to the importance of nurturing effective preaching within Christian communities. CALLED will equip participants with the tools and insights necessary to communicate effectively and resonate deeply with listeners.” 


About the Passionists 
The Passionists, a 300 year old international congregation of priests and brothers centered on the Passion of Jesus, in partnership with Sunday to Sunday Productions, joins a cohort of 142 organizations receiving grants through the Compelling Preaching Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, these organizations span various denominations and traditions, emphasizing the shared commitment to enhancing preaching excellence.

About Sunday to Sunday Productions 
Sunday to Sunday an Emmy Award winning media ministry in partnership with The Passionists is one of 142 organizations receiving grants through the Compelling Preaching 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.

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 HeroBridge Media Technology 
Founded in 2018, HeroBridge is a Los Angeles based media technology company specializing in community supportive technology that uses data to build healthy, productive, well connected real world communities. HeroBridge is a subscription media technology that helps organizations create their own safe, scaleable and organized communities around their resources, curriculum and mentorship. Built to resemble familiar social media and learning platforms, subscriber communities access their own white label platform via a private and secure mobile app or secure web platform. Once inside, users can curate, generate and immerse in their own media, resources, and curriculum to reach goals and support each other in highly meaningful ways.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Jim O’Shea at [email protected]
Michael Pankow at [email protected]


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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