Interest surges for ‘Mottet’ leadership training



By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — The Mottet Leadership Institute training program is filling up fast, and will include a diverse group of participants.

“We have people living in poverty to religious leaders signed up for this,” said Loxi Hopkins, a volunteer in the diocese’s Social Action Office.

So far, 38 people have officially signed up for the program, which is available in English and Spanish. Several more have expressed interest.


Dan Ebener, who will serve as a mentor during the training, said response has been “overwhelming,” with people from as far away as Ottumwa signed up. “Timing could not be better. Many issues in our world are pressing upon us. … It is time for more involvement in the community.”

Hopkins said people’s reasons for signing up range from personal growth to a desire to become more involved in the community.

The Mottet Leadership Institute was formed as a result of a last request from the late Msgr. Marvin Mottet, who died in 2016 at the age of 86, following a life dedicated to the Two Feet of Social Action. He believed that action on behalf of social justice was a necessary part of Christian life. Charity and justice are the two steps in his “two feet” approach. Training is essential to understand and carry out this approach, he believed.

Father Mottet, as he preferred to be called, was less concerned about his legacy and more concerned about his mission. Ebener said, “He just wanted to see us continue the work. … This institute is a way of taking what Fr. Mottet taught us and teaching many others in the ways of Fr. Mottet, not so much that his legacy can live on, but that his life’s work will be continued.”

Participants will meet at the St. Vincent Center in Davenport one Saturday a month from September to April. The interactive sessions will feature a variety of topics focused on leadership development. Cost is $400 per participant, and scholarships are available. So far, $20,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund.

Trainers are from the Gamaliel Foundation in Chicago. For 30 years, Fr. Mottet relied on the foundation to provide training and technical assistance for Quad Cities Interfaith. Ebener said the monthly format of the Mottet Institute training is a bit of an experiment, and one that organizers believe will allow the participants to reflect more on their activity as they get involved with the community during the training. “We can come back and reflect on their progress each month as part of the program. It is closer to the Marv Mottet ideal of ‘see, judge, act, reflect’ and then ‘see, judge, act, reflect’ again.”

The program has a maximum capacity of 50 people, so Hopkins recommends people register as soon as possible by emailing or calling (563) 940-2580.

Hopkins believes Fr. Mottet would be pleased at how many people have expressed interest in helping him carry on his Social Action mission.

“I know he’s looking down and smiling,” Hopkins said.

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