Maybe the first day of Lent isn’t the ideal day to celebrate, but here at the Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute we’re doing it anyway.

The occasion is the announcement that our primary leadership training program, the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter, is finally available in Spanish.

It’s a very special Thank you, Jesus moment in our history.

The English language Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter was published in the fall of 2009, only a few months after a book by the same name was published by Our Sunday Visitor. Since then the Yeshua Institute’s leaders have been hoping, praying and trying to arrange translation and publication of its materials in Spanish.

But the quest actually predates 2009 by more than a decade.

Decades' old quest

In the 1990s, Owen Phelps, author of The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus book and workbook, was Director of Communications & Publications for the Catholic Diocese of Rockford. On behalf of the office he offered a short program on Christian leadership based on Jesus’ teaching and example in the Gospels.

There was a time for questions immediately after his presentation, and the very first question was: “Do you have this in Spanish?” Owen’s answer, “Unfortunately, no.” Although he took two years of Spanish in school, he knew that such a project was well beyond his Spanish literacy skills.

But he did welcome assistance translating the program so it could be presented in Spanish. Regrettably, no one came forward to do the work.

Soon after the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounter workbook was published and programs were scheduled in English, people once again asked if there was a Spanish version of the program.

“Since 2009, we’ve had several false starts trying to develop a Spanish version,” Owen explains. “It turned out to be a daunting task, and we weren’t able to make any significant progress as the years rolled by.”

Then, two years ago while Owen and Dick were teaching the leadership program for people enrolled in the Rockford Diocese’s Ministry Formation Program, Owen noticed a student’s signature at the bottom of an assignment said she was a “Certified Spanish-English translator.” He decided to reach out to her with his hope.

Gift of God

Today Owen calls that student, Mariana Maloney, “a gift from God.” It turned out that Mariana is a native of Buenos Aires, and worked there as a translator for the U.S. State Department. She was busy, but she agreed to do the translation.

“Today we wouldn’t be announcing the availability of a Spanish version of the Encounter if it were not for the incredibly conscientious work of Mariana,” Phelps explained.

In order to offer the Encounter in Spanish, she had to translate three things – the Participant Workbook, the Facilitator’s Guide and the PowerPoint presentation. In each case, references to page numbers in the workbook had to be coordinated across all three products.

The Yeshua Institute is offering the Spanish Facilitator’s Kit, which includes all three products, to Spanish-speaking Catholics who have participated in the English-language Encounter.

“It’s been our practice to require that anyone who facilitates our Encounters has to participate in an Encounter first, so at this point we’re trying to locate everyone who has participated in an earlier Encounter and tell them the Spanish version is finally available if they would like to facilitate its presentation,” Owen explained.

The Yeshua Institute will begin shipping Spanish Facilitator Kits before the end of March. They will cost $50 plus S&H.

For more information about the kits and the Spanish Encounter, write to Owen at











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