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School Pastors' Institute

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After having to cancel last year's School Pastors' Institute due to the pandemic, we are excited to announce that the SPI will be returning in the summer of 2021. The one notable change for this year's conference is that it will NOT be held at the University of Notre Dame as it traditionally has been. The University has not yet made a final decision on hosting conferences on campus this summer, thus, we have decided to move the 2021 SPI to the University of St. Mary of the Lake, also known as Mundelein. We hope you'll consider joining us for the SPI this year. Please see below for more details regarding this summer's conference.

What is the School Pastors' Institue?

In July of 2011, the Alliance for Catholic Education launched the School Pastors' Institute (SPI), a leadership formation symposium for pastors of a Catholic school. Developed at the request of (arch)bishops from across the country, the SPI is designed to respond to the unique and increasingly complex challenges and opportunities related to serving as a pastor of a parish school. Since 2011, the SPI has formed and served over 1,000 pastors from 145 different (arch)dioceses to look more closely at the crucial role that the pastor plays in the parish school, as well as to foster best practices and collaboration among those engaged in this vital ministry. Now, more than ever, we need pastors understand, support, and advocate for Catholic schools.

Conference Goals and Content

The SPI is animated by our mission to embrace, educate, and empower children, families, educators, leaders, pastors, and others committed Catholic education. The conference will be rooted in three key areas: pastor as spiritual leader, the pastor and principal relationship, and the critical role of the pastor in the Catholic school. Topics will include Catholic identity, financial management and advancement, the formation of personnel, the recruitment of Latino children to Catholic schools, and public funding for Catholic schools. One special area will focus on what we have learned from the pandemic and the future of Catholic schools. The conference will entail breakouts for first-time pastors, international priests who are new to the U.S. Catholic school system, pastors with alternative governance models, pastors of regional or combined schools, pastors of rural parishes, associate pastors, and priests who serve as high school chaplains.

Summer 2021

The 2021 School Pastors' Institute will begin on Monday, June 28, at 5:30 p.m. and will conclude on Wednesday, June 30, at 11:30 a.m. As noted above, this year's conference will NOT be held at the University of Notre Dame as it traditionally has been. Because the University has not yet made any final decisions about having conferences on campus this summer, we have decided to move the 2021 SPI to the University of St. Mary of the Lake, also known as Mundelein. While we will miss not being able to host the SPI on our campus, we look forward to holding this year's conference at Mundelein, the staff of which has been extremely cooperative and helpful in planning this event. 

2021 SPI in brief:

  • DATES: June 28-30, 2021
    Participants are most welcome to arrive early and/or stay late at Mundelein. If you wish to do so, please call the front desk at Mundelein to make the request/reservation (847-970-4908). There is, or course, an additional fee, which should be made payable directly to Mundelein.

    University of St. Mary of the Lake (Mundelein) 
    1000 E. Maple Ave., Mundelein, IL 60060

Cost and Registration

Registration for the 2021 School Pastors' Institute is now open. The registration fee is $500 and includes accommodations, meals, and supplies. Transportation is the responsibility of each participant. If travel should require you to arrive early or stay an extra day, space will be available. Please call Mundelein directly at 847-970-4908 to arrange for this. All registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and registration will remain open until all spaces have been filled. Due to COVID protocols set by the state of Illinois, our capacity for this year's conference is 50 people.

Please note, if the cost is prohibitive of you attending, there are funds available to cover a portion of the registration fee. Inability to pay the registration fee should not be a reason to not attend. For more information, please contact Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C. ()

To register, follow the link below. For any questions regarding the conference or the registration process, please contact Steve McClure (). We hope to see you this summer!


Interested in the SPI?

We are excited to announce that the School Pastors' Institute will be returning for the summer of 2021! 

We will also gladly continue to accept pastor nominations for 2021. If you know a pastor who would be interested in attending the SPI, please follow the link below to complete the nomination form. We will be happy to reach out to him to provide further details about the program.


If you're interested in attending the SPI but have questions regarding the program, please contact Steve McClure.

Important Dates

February 15, 2021: Registration Opens
June 28-30, 2021: SPI Summer Conference

GeorgeVaniyapurackal SPI2017


"I learned a lot from the School Pastors' Institute; it inspired me to love St. Paul's Catholic School more deeply. Our devoted principal is committed to keeping the Catholic identity in our school, as are our teachers, who are trained by Notre Dame. I am happy to be their pastor, encouraging and appreciating their ministry at the school. I have been so impressed by the Notre Dame campus and its spiritual atmosphere radiating here."

Fr. George Vaniyapurackal
St. Paul's Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Augustine




"I was overwhelmed by my experience at the School Pastors' Institute; I can't wait for this new school year to start. This week has made me look at the school through a different set of lenses. I am also excited that my new principal graduated from the ACE program, and I truly believe this will allow us to be on the same page as we work together for the good of the children."

Fr. John Tetlow
San Juan Del Rio Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Augustine



"One of the great lessons I received from the School Pastors' Institute centered on opportunities one can take advantage of when supporting your school principal. It truly reaffirmed my commitment to strengthen, as a pastor, a ministry of presence, with the entire school family. I'm excited to bring back to our parish campus the resources that were offered, along with the experience that other participants brought to the table!"

Fr. Miguel González
St. James Cathedral
Diocese of Orlando