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National Leadership Roundtable

on Church Management


January 2014

Leadership Roundtable's 'Toolbox' featured in New York Times
The Toolbox for Pastoral Management, a Leadership Roundtable and Seton Hall University program, was featured in a column in this weekend's New York Times, highlighting the gap the Toolbox fills in leadership training for Catholic priests.
Toolbox participants enjoy listening to a seminar in Jacksonville, FL, earlier this month. (Courtesy: New York Times).

It was to be something like a condensed M.B.A., to help priests avoid the kind of problems the group was being called on to solve. [The project manager, Fr. Paul Holmes,] agreed to develop a curriculum for these sessions, and in 2009 the Toolbox met for the first time.


Father Holmes was drawn to the project because he was seeing young priests being given too much responsibility. When he was ordained, 32 years ago, many priests got decades of on-the-job training before being given parishes of their own.


"You had a 25-year apprenticeship," Father Holmes said. "You had two or three pastors to learn from. By the time you became a pastor of a parish, you were 51 years old. You had seen a budget!"


But the priest shortage has left a bad knowledge gap.


"There are no more apprenticeships," Father Holmes lamented. "It's like three years from ordination to being a pastor."

The article, appearing in Saturday's national section, noted that the Toolbox owes its genesis to the insight of Tom Healey, a founding board member of the Leadership Roundtable. It also highlighted the history of the Leadership Roundtable, with quotes from our founding chair, Geoff Boisi, as well as our executive director, Kerry Robinson:

"We know how to solve management crises," Ms. Robinson said. "It's not easy, but it's possible."


The members' goal, she said, is "to harness their collective managerial expertise" to help the Catholic Church "solve temporal challenges facing the church - the management of people, facilities and finances."





The Toolbox is possible because of the generosity of individual donors and foundations. To help support this, and other Leadership Roundtable programs, please click here.
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