Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Allentown, PA, spoke about the need for effective diocesan strategic planning to a group of bishops at a meeting hosted by the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management during the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall Meeting in Baltimore this week.
"We cannot separate the universal call to holiness from the universal call to mission," Bishop Barres said. He praised the Leadership Roundtable staff that assisted the Diocese of Allentown, calling the process "sincere, skillful and helpful" and noted the "sophisticated analysis, which was financial, strategic and very direct. It was extremely helpful in pushing our analysis and quite frankly in pushing some of our tough decisions."
Reflecting on the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith, efforts championed by Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Barres said that the Catholic Church must strive for excellence in all that it does, including managing its temporal affairs. "Why shouldn't the universal sacrament of salvation, what we call the Catholic Church, the hope of humanity in the twenty-first century, with all our challenges, why shouldn't it have outstanding management, accounting, and investment strategies?" he asked.
He went on, "If we responsibly manage the gifts we've been given, we are in service to the New Evangelization. If we're working transparently as best we can and working toward that incrementally, that's going to have a big impact on the different dimensions of the New Evangelization."
Leadership, management key focus of Mid-Atlantic Congress
The Leadership Roundtable is once again partnering with the Mid-Atlantic Congress, a weeklong series of workshops, seminars, and lectures aimed at forming Catholic leaders for faith-filled service, and is offering a special track for leaders of parishes, dioceses, religious communities, and other Catholic organizations. The Leadership and Management Track will name the challenges, identify best practices, customize the solutions, and develop a plan for implementation.
The Leadership Roundtable will also host sessions exclusively for US bishops during the March event. Baltimore's Archbishop William Lori, as local host, encouraged his brother bishops to attend the daylong series of conversations that will provide candid room for dialogue about managerial challenges and offer solutions that can be implemented at the diocesan level.
To learn more about the Mid-Atlantic Congress, visit www.midatlanticcongress.org.
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