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When Bob De Lorenzo left El Tesoro de los Angeles Retreat Center in Woodland Park a year ago, he took with him a passion for helping others learn to be Jesus-like S3 Leaders. He had just spent two days participating in a Catholic Leading Like Jesus Encounter and Facilitator Training, and he was eager to share the experience with others back in his home parish and wherever else he might be needed.

A retired nuclear engineer with extensive military and civilian experience, he found that the principles of leading like Jesus happily integrated much of what he knew about his Catholic faith and had learned about leadership in his many years as an executive in a large, complex industry. 

WORKING TOGETHER – The first Encounter in the state of Washington, held at St. Joseph Parish in Kennewick March 31, begins with the cooperation of three presenters: (from left) Bob De Lorenzo, a parishioner and Leading Like Jesus Facilitator; Dr. Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute; and Father Richard Sedlacek, Pastor of St. Joseph Parish, who welcomed participants and led them in an opening prayer.

Bob’s passion, the support of his pastor, and a ready reception by members of St. Joseph Parish in Kennewick, WA, explains why he was standing before 51 fellow parishioners and visitors on Saturday, March 31, co-facilitating a Catholic Leading Like Jesus Encounter with Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute. 

But that wasn’t Bob’s first effort to share the Catholic vision for leading like Jesus. After participating in the Encounter and Facilitator training in Colorado in May, 2011, Bob decided that in a parish setting he could present the Encounter’s content in a more relaxed environment where participants would have more opportunities to discuss and reflect on the content. So he developed a 15-week series of meetings that lasted an hour and a half.

During an Encounter, participants typically complete 43 of the 100 activities in the workbook that is used by participants.(Our hope is that they will complete the other activities on their own or in small groups after the Encounter is over.) But in Bob’s15-week program, participants were able to complete 84 of the activities. 

Bob was able to utilize all of the PowerPoint presentation slides in the Encounter program, and he also supplemented Encounter materials with slides based on his own leadership background and experience as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and as a business executive.

“I also provided at least one 2-page handout at each session containing supplementary reading from the many sources I had been reading on a continuing basis,” Bob explains.

The result was a rich mix of live presentation, video programs, quiet reflection and self-discovery exercises, and small and large group discussion. And at the end of the 15 weeks, participants gave the program high marks. Some typical comments:

 

  • “Very helpful. I am just entering a time in my career to heed the instruction."
  • “It challenges all of us, society as a whole, to be a better place by modeling Jesus.”
  • “Very rich in information about what a true Catholic leader needs to use and master.”
  • “I am going through a difficult time, and this class really helped me emotionally to deal with it.”


Twenty-five people initially signed up for the program, but only 13 were able to attend all the sessions. However, several of those people also gave up much of a Friday evening to share their enthusiasm for their experience with Owen Phelps, Director of the Yeshua Institute, when he visited to co-facilitate the Encounter. Some of them also attended the 1-day Encounter to see for themselves how it compares with their more extensive experience in the 15-week program. Several of them expressed their gratitude for Bob’s work, and one of them called him “a true gift to our parish.” 

Bob says he hopes to continue sharing the Catholic vision for leading like Jesus with others in his parish as well as wherever that work may take him. In the meantime, he has graciously made his 15-week course outline and handouts available to the Yeshua Institute. While it is too extensive to attach to an email, we hope to make it available soon on our website. Not only can it serve as an outline for an extended Catholic Leading Like Jesus Learning Experience, it will serve as an excellent resource for people who want to deepen their knowledge about effective Jesus-like leadership beyond the content presented in the Catholic Encounter.

“Bob and his work are not only gifts to his parish, they are gifts to Catholics everywhere, and we hope to help share them with people all over the world in the days ahead,” Owen said after the Encounter.

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