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Magis CenterMarch 31, 20233 min read

The New Magis Institute for Clergy

The Spitzer Center for Visionary Leadership has officially merged with Magis Center as the Magis Institute for Clergy. In this partnership, the Institute will continue its mission of empowering Catholic clergy to optimize the quality and delivery of their pastoral and spiritual services while strengthening morale and team behaviors. 

Journey to Joyful Holiness 

Magis Institute for Clergy will continue its core program, Journey to Joyful Holiness, a three-phase, multi-year program addressing the challenges taxing our priests' time, mental resources, and physical resources. The Journey to Joyful Holiness curriculum is solidly grounded in Catholic tradition with the best of positive psychology and contemporary leadership insights. The Phases of Journey to Joyful Holiness are:

  1. The Four Levels of Happiness®​ Seminar
  2. The Presbyteral Culture Inventory® (PCI)
  3. Ongoing Renewal

Whether the program is presented to a clergy convocation, deanery seminar, or individual diagnostics, Institute leaders walk with clergy to deepen spirituality, foster fraternity and unity, and renew the culture of the presbyterate.

History of the Magis Center for Clergy 

In the summer of 2003, Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., and Jim Berlucchi met in Chicago to discuss the first seeds of what would become the former Spitzer Center. Fr. Spitzer was then the President of Gonzaga University; he also served as the international chaplain for Legatus, an organization of Catholic CEOs where Mr. Berlucchi served as Executive Director for ten years. While in Chicago, they came up with the idea to convert Fr. Spitzer’s writings and audiotapes into a dynamic video curriculum that could reach many thousands worldwide.

And so it began. . . With Fr. Spitzer’s guidance, Mr. Berlucchi embarked upon the task of developing extensive collateral materials. In 2004, St. Vincent Health Care System in Indianapolis piloted the first curriculum. Further successes that year led to the establishment of the Spitzer Center as a non-profit educational institute. By February 2005, Spitzer Center had formed a board of directors under the leadership of Henry Frigon, the mission was established, and the Center was headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Since then, thousands of individuals have enthusiastically received Spitzer Center programs in scores of faith-based and business organizations. 

Education Rooted in the Four Levels of Happiness

“Happiness depends on ourselves.” —Aristotle

Magis Institute for Clergy draws its curriculum from Fr. Robert Spitzer's Fr. Spitzer’s Four Levels of Happiness. Throughout the centuries, philosophers (and later psychologists) have elucidated four major kinds of desire (and, therefore, four major kinds of happiness). The four levels of happiness are: 

  1. Desires connected with biological (instinctual) opportunities and dangers
  2. Ego-comparative desires
  3. Contributive-empathetic desires
  4. Transcendental-spiritual desires 

Perhaps the most general definition of happiness is “the fulfillment of desire” (whether that desire is superficial or sublime). It follows from this that unhappiness would be the nonfulfillment of desire. Therefore, we must discover our major desires—what drives us, what we yearn for, and what we seek for satisfaction and fulfillment.

With the four levels of happiness as the basis for the education of the Magis Institute, clergy not only learn a good and comprehensive definition of happiness, but also discover how to live a more fulfilled life in their relationships within the community, church, and even culture or society. Such a fulfilled life could do considerable good—for individuals and the common good, for this world and even the next.

Looking Forward

Fr. Robert Spitzer, president of both organizations, is enthusiastic about the merge and the opportunity to “synergize efforts in marketing, digital presence, social media, and diocesan programming.”

The exciting change comes just months after the Institute for Teachers and Catechists (formally Credible Catholic) also merged with Magis Center. With the two aforementioned and with The Purposeful Universe, Magis Center now hosts a trifecta of science and faith-based projects for a wide range of audiences. 


Magis Center

The mission of the Magis Center is to create content that helps people find higher purpose in life, an awareness of their transcendent dignity, a sense of the transcendent providential power who guides them, and a determination to live ethically responsible lives. To that end, the Magis Center produces and distributes media that provides contemporary commentary on timeless topics.