Yale to train church leaders

With the newly renovated St. Thomas More Chapel rededicated a month ago, Yale’s Catholic Chaplaincy is moving onto its next potential initiative — training young Catholics from across the country to become leaders in local parishes.

On behalf of St. Thomas More, Thomas Golden, Jr. ’51 is in the midst of renovating a building on 23 Lynwood Pl. that is intended to become a housing center for college graduates who will then engage in Catholic campus ministry at Yale, according to Rev. Robert Beloin, Yale’s Catholic chaplain. The addition of 23 Lynwood, which comes on the heels of the renovation of St. Thomas More Chapel and the construction of the Thomas E. Golden Center, is the next step in the chaplaincy’s efforts to expand its physical and programmatic influence on Yale’s campus, Beloin said.

“St. Thomas More’s ministry has grown tremendously in the last 10 years,” Beloin said. “We had to build to accommodate the expanding program.”

Real estate developer Golden purchased the building to facilitate the spread of St. Thomas More’s “enlightened administrative approach” to Catholic lay leadership, Golden said.

The building on Lynwood is not Golden’s only contribution to St. Thomas More.

The recently built Thomas E. Golden Center, which features spaces for students at Yale to study and socialize , was named after Golden for in honor of his decision to leave 75 percent of his estate to the chaplaincy upon his death, Beloin said. The bequest will amount to no less than $25 million, said Golden, who was a member of St. Thomas More during his time at Yale.

The “Garland Building”, as 23 Lynwood Place is affectionately called, has an “institutional feel” and stained glass windows that make it an ideal fit for the ministry of St. Thomas More, Golden explained.

The building itself will house young recent college graduates who wish to engage in campus ministry, Beloin said. According to Beloin, 90 percent of Catholics in college attend non-Catholic universities, so providing training for Catholic ministry in a secular institution like Yale is critical to developing effective Catholic leadership, both in campus ministries and in local parishes.

Beloin estimated that the program would be operative within two years, though Jennifer Aniskovich, the executive director of St. Thomas More, emphasized that its details are still under discussion.

“I think we’re still sort of brainstorming and flushing out what a leadership program might look like,” Aniskovich said. “After finishing the chapel and the Golden Center, we’re taking a deep breath before moving onto building number three.”

Another program in the works will train lay leaders among Yale’s Catholic undergraduates to become effective religious leaders in local parishes after they leave the University, Beloin said. Though funding for the new undergraduate program is still in the works, Beloin said he expects to develop the program in full this summer.

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