Fr. Brian Cavanaugh, TOR 

Leadership Development and
Motivating/Inspirational Speaker



Following is a list of programs I have prepared which could be adapted for specific occasions. The first four programs make a good four day Parish Mission.

  1. "Your Created Goodness: Developing and Improving a Positive Attitude and Healthy Self-Worth A Concept for Spiritual Wellness." This program looks at the concept of self-worth as being created in God's image and likeness and being called very good (Genesis 1:27,31). The focus is on discovering, embracing and unleashing this intrinsic concept of personal goodness that is necessary for successful leadership. Magnanimity, "a great-souled person," is a core virtue that will be explored.
        This program teaches the importance of learning how to reach and to stretch to attain the goals one strives to achieve. As we read in the book of Isaiah (40:31) the destiny of each person is:
    They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary; walk and not grow faint.

  2. Forgiveness: The Keystone of Human Values. This talk looks at the human need to give and receive forgiveness. As Gandhi said, "Only the one who is strong enough to avenge a wrong is strong enough to forgive a wrong." Examples are drawn from daily living, multiple traditions and humorous illustrations from nature, without mentioning the Bible or the sayings of Jesus, except at the end where it comes together by showing how important forgiveness was to Jesus that he raised it to the level of a sacrament.

  3. "The Coach for Our Lives:" The Role of the Holy Spirit in the New Millennium. This talk was developed to more fully understand the role of the Holy Spirit as we enter a new millennium. Reflection is on the Greek words parakaleo, parakleto and paraklesis and their relationship to understanding the role of the Holy Spirit, who calls us to a new and more abundant life. Also examined is the function of the Holy Spirit, using the document "The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World" (Dominum et Vivificantem) by Pope John Paul II, as the Lord and giver of life.

  4. Role of the Laity: Developing a Spirituality of Discipleship. This program explores the role of the laity in the Church in light of the Second Vatican Council's "Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity," as well as, Pope John Paul's document "Christifidelis Laici" (Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People) to penetrate and perfect the temporal sphere with the spirit of the Gospel.
        The focus is on developing an everyday spirituality of discipleship drawing from the article "Disciplines for a Spirituality of Work" by Gregory F. Augustine Pierce (Origins, Jan. 28, 1999). Spirituality in this context is seeing your life as a deepening revelation of God's unique plan for your life, "in and thru all our efforts to make the world a little better place, a little closer to the way or reign of God."
        The biblical foundation for this spirituality is based in St. Paul's 1st letter to the Thessalonians (5:11, 13, 15-18): "Encourage one another and build one another up...For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Such a foundation provides vision and guidance in the everyday applications of a practical, workplace, spiritual discipline.
        Developing a spirituality of discipleship understands just how linked our lives really are, developing a conscious awareness to and for others, and developing an understanding that our words and actions, our own small acts of caring, kindness and encouragement, what we do and what we don't do will have an effect in the lives of others. Simply, that disciples are to be like sermons walking.

  5. Art of Encouragement. This talk is based on St. Paul's 1st letter to the Thessalonians (5:11, 13, 15-18): "Encourage one another and build one another up...For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
        To encourage one another is applying The Golden Rule in one's daily life, whether it be as a parent, teacher, friend, coach, minister, employer, manager, etc. Encouragement is seen as one of the critical factors for effective leadership. Also, I have a shorter version for after-dinner speeches.
        I have several spin-offs of this "encouragement" theme directed toward athletes, coaches, parents and evangelization.

  6. The Power of Influence. This talk began as a response to the  9/11 tragedy. It looks at the root meaning of terror as a means to break our spirit and how we can be forces to positively influence our own little acre in God's kingdom. Much like how "we see in NY’s harbor, Lady Liberty’s torch brightly beaconing hope amid these darkest hours of terror."
         Emphasis is placed on one's conscious commitment amid the routine of daily life to promote other people's welfare, to be a power of influence. The foundation for such a commitment is rooted in the word frequently used in speeches and sermons—RESOLVE
    , a firmness of decision, a steadfast purpose.
        John W. Gardner, a leading American educator, summed it up as, "The prime function of a leader [also a teacher, coach, parent, preacher, friend] is to keep hope alive!" We can all make greater efforts to be a more positive force to influence, to "encourage others and to build up one another." Or, as the remarkable Presbyterian preacher/novelist Frederick Beuchner describes humanity as an enormous spider web, "if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling…The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops…"
         Resolve to be the power of influence in your family, your school, your community.

  7. Leadership Vision: Explores how having a creative vision is essential for effective leadership, which needs to be transformed in simple reality. A leader refines, adapts and adjust this creative vision, especially by learning to fail forward, or by turning failures into fertilizer. Opportunities abound around us for those with "eyes to see and ears to hear," yet most go through life with one eye and ear shut. This talk looks at vision as "the ability to conceive what might be attempted or achieved," or as far-sightedness, seeing beyond the horizon. It takes vision and awareness to notice possibilities that most walk by, unnoticed and unaware. As Edison stated: "I absorb ideas from every source I can…The ideas that I use are mostly the ideas of other people who don't develop them themselves."

  8. Men of God—Men of Virtue. This is a men's ministry program reflecting on 1 Tim. 6:11-12. We will look at the origins of virtue and our daily struggles to exemplify virtue by our choices and decisions. In this text St. Paul is challenging/calling on Timothy to honor and virtue as a "man of God." Three virtues, in particular, we will examine that are imperative to understand within men's ministry—Agape, Patience and Gentleness or Meekness.
        Today, a man of God, as St. Paul challenged Timothy, walks in honor and virtue, or we might say, stands tall as a man of character. Closing this program, we will look at the effects character has for a man to stand tall in this time of struggle.

  9. Spirituality of Parenting: Sowing Seeds of Faith. The focus of this talk is looking at the family as a garden in which seeds of faith are sown—compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another—that will bear abundant fruit within family life.
        Seeing the role of parent as a spiritual experience and as a vocation has a strong mandate in Pope John Paul's document "Christifidelis Laici" (Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People), §40 "The family is the basic cell of society. It is the cradle of life and love, the place in which the individual ‘is born’ and ‘grows.’"
        Catholic parents in the 21st Century have the task to prepare their children to take on their respective roles as the builders of God’s kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven.
        They have the responsibility is to nurture the seeds of faith within their families so that their sons and daughters will grow strong, loving & wise…that their light will brightly shine before others…that they will be the salt that influences their world.

  10. Dare Mighty Things. This lecture is to instill and energize each person with a sense of personal mission to dare greatly in overcoming life's obstacles. "Dare Mighty Things" echoes the struggles of all valiant men and women who have dared to make this world a better place, and it summons each one of us to continue the struggle as "candlelighters" rather than as "candlesnuffers."

  11. Dare Mighty Things...Again! This lecture has a greater focus on renewing and revitalizing men and women to continue the struggle to be a positive influence in this world. It has been received enthusiastically by teacher in-service programs and care-giver groups. There is an immediacy in creating a positive environment. "I Dare You, catch a passion for helping others and a richer life will come back to you."

  12. Dare Mighty Things: A Spirituality for the Workplace. This program focuses on developing an everyday spirituality for the workplace drawing from the article "Disciplines for a Spirituality of Work" by Gregory F. Augustine Pierce in Origins, Jan. 28, 1999. Spirituality in this context is seeing your life as a deepening revelation of God's unique plan for your life, "in and thru all our efforts to make the world a little better place, a little closer to the way or reign of God."
        The biblical foundation for this spirituality is based in St. Paul's 1st letter to the Thessalonians (5:11, 13, 15-18): "Encourage one another and build one another up...For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Such a foundation provides vision and guidance in the everyday applications of a practical, workplace, spiritual discipline.
        Developing a spirituality for the workplace understands just how linked our lives really are, develops a conscious awareness to and for others, and develops an understanding that our words and actions, our own small acts of caring, kindness and encouragement, what we do and what we don't do will have an effect in the lives of others, like sending forth tiny ripples of hope.

  13. Principles of Integrity: The focus of this presentation is centered around the character-building virtue of "integrity." It will examine "Integrity" by definition, synonyms and biblical passages, as well as, contemporary examples of how integrity is an important internal support for effective leadership.

  14. Better Communications Through Effective Listening. This talk explores the communications process, or lack of it, in building community. Focus is toward the communication differences between men and women with emphasis on developing active listening skills. We hear in Sirach 6:33 "If you are willing to listen, you will learn; if you give heed, you will be wise." The three pillars for strong communities and effective communications are Respect—Courtesy—Kindness.

  15. Rev Your Engines. This talk is primarily geared for those beginning a new phase in their life journey. It also has been successfully adapted for assisting new students in getting adjusted to academic life and for college seniors getting ready to enter the job interview process. The focus is on self-confidence, visioning, expectations, interviewing tips and pointers, attitude adjustments, etc.

  16. Servant Leadership. This talk looks at leaders as servants based on the works of Robert Greenleaf. Focus is on the differences between "worldly leadership" vs. "Gospel leadership."

  17. Teamwork. This talk centers around the acronym: T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Accomplishes More). The focus is on vision-goals-purpose.

  18. Develop A Great Theme For Life. This talk is a short, motivational, B-vitamin shot for inspiring leaders to develop meaning and purpose for the direction of their lives.

  19. Time Management. This talk looks at time management with a focus on NOW as the key concept. The oft quoted sports phrase, Just Do It, does not answer the major question for leaders, "When are you going to do it." Now becomes a great time management tool.

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