Management for Seminarians

RNS has a feature on forming priests-to-be in management skills. Good for Villanova, but this kind of thing should be a prerequisite for ordination. If a priest wants to be a pastor, that is.

I noticed the “Rebuilt” priest, Michael White, is one of the speakers–speaking on human management.

Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Senior, the rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, … raised the money to fund the institute, has more administrative experience than most priests: he has an MBA and a master’s degree in social work, and he worked in Catholic Charities for years and oversaw clergy personnel for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Senior quickly discovered that the top reason that stressed-out priests requested a new assignment was to get out from under the heavy administrative burdens, and he wants to help new priests avoid that pitfall.

“It’s not that you have to be able to do everything,” Senior said. “But you certainly have to be able to recognize what needs to be done, and how to get the right people to do it.”

Priests may have specialties (even canon law passes for one, I suppose) but the reality is that given the wide variety of parishes, an ordained guy is going to have to be a generalist these days, possessing a basic competence across a wide range of abilities. Pastors in large parishes might even be at something of an advantage. They can hire and shape a staff to cover their weak areas. In one parish with a school and a large parishioner base, a priest I know inherited a good business manager when the bishop sent him there. But after a year he added a parish administrator to basically run the whole place while he focused on pastoral ministry. One solution, and a fortunate one, perhaps. But not every priest has both a wealthy community and the ability to acknowledge his personal shortcomings.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Management for Seminarians

  1. Jim McCrea says:

    A wise pastor will quickly discover which of his parishioners have the skills and experience to handle the temporal affairs of their (not his! … their) parish and will hire a good, competent Business Manager to deal with the daily non-spiritual activities. He will cooperatively partner with the Finance Council and Pastoral Council, and ensure that the membership thereof is people who will debate, disagree and dialogue, all for the good of the parish, not just the comfort of the pastor.

    The days of “Father Knows Best” are long, long gone.

  2. FrMichael says:

    “…will hire a good, competent Business Manager to deal with the daily non-spiritual activities.”

    Would that we all have the money to do so! My last parish, a large one, I could afford one. Not my current parish!

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