If there has been a consistent message to young people in the last two pontificates, itis that the world and the Church are in need of Catholic leaders who are willing to live thelife of the Gospel fully. So often leadership in the modern world is viewed as somehow separate from the life of virtue and faith. Yet more than anything, as the Holy Father recently said, hope for the future lies in leaders who are “prepared to put their life on the line in order to enlighten the world with the truth of Christ; to respond with love to hatred and disregard of life; to proclaim the hope of the risen Christ in every corner of the earth.”

I am grateful to be working with the Center for Catholic Studies to help launch the Leadership Institute. The world has always been changed not by great numbers but by small numbers of great leaders. Here is a program designed for the formation of these leaders, and one pursued at a level of depth that is rarely found. I am looking forward to participating in the Spring Institute, which takes a group of Catholic Studies students to Peru and Mexico to view the Catholic world in Latin America and learn from it. I was pleased to deliver the Habiger lecture on the formation of a new generation of Catholic leaders this semester. And most importantly, I have enjoyed investing time and energy in the cultivation of young women and men who, as Pope Benedict XVI describes them, have “allowed God’s love to burn within them and who will respond generously to his urgent call.”

I have spent much of my adult life working with young leaders across the country, and I am delighted to participate in the work of the Center for Catholic Studies with its strong national reputation. I am deeply grateful to the Habiger endowment for making my visit here possible and to the center and the University of St. Thomas for their invitation and hospitality.

Dr. Jonathan Reyes received a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame and was thefounding president of the Augustine Institute, a master’s program in evangelization andscripture studies in the archdiocese of Denver. He is the Joseph and Edith HabigerScholar-in-Residence and assists in the development of the Habiger Institute for CatholicLeadership. He also teaches a Catholic Studies undergraduate course.