Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Priests Need More Business Skills"

This is a phrase I've heard often, and I agree wholeheartedly.  When I was in the seminary we regularly pleaded for accounting/HR/managerial classes.  We didn't get much of it despite us asking for help.

There have been movements to help priests get properly trained, and thanks be to God!  Without ever having had a business class, I was asked to take over a situation where I manage $600,000 annually, and oversee 13 employees.

Jeff Cavins and renowned business speaker Patrick Lencioni sent all priests a book recently which beautifully spoke to the need that so many priests need to develop and grow, and they are offering a lot of resources in that regard.

In my own Archdiocese, we have received a grant to help develop our priests in certain business competencies.



All this talk about the need we have for priests to develop their business acumen has me thinking...


I want to note two specific areas where it seems a lot of dioceses could REALLY use an injection of some business sense.

If you told Pepsi Cola or some other Fortune 500 company - "Hey, you guys are losing SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT of your customers at the age of 18.  They stop using your product.  You will not see them again until they are 30 years old."

Let me tell you what would happen.  The CEO would pull the fire-alarm, get on the pa, and call an emergency meeting and tell everyone "STOP immediately what you are doing, and report to an emergency meeting in 4 minutes.  Everything else stops until we put together a plan for how we are going to solve this."

But the Catholic world in the United States seems to recite the statistic of 75% of our young people leaving as a sort of "Shucks, oh well, I hope it doesn't happen to MY kid, but if it does, well, it happens."

A second area.  Vocations to the priesthood.

Again, imagine a Fortune 500 company finding out that they can only choose plant managers from a selected pool of people, and that the pool is shrinking rapidly WHILE AT THE SAME TIME the number of retiring managers is going to be huge over the next 10 years.

Again, it would be a "four-alarm-every-single-person-to-the-board-room-and-we're-not-leaving-until-this-is-solved"

And yet most Catholics barely seem to concern themselves with nurturing vocations, recruiting vocations, supporting vocations, etc.


This issue of vocations isn't something that falls to one or two vocation directors - this is a CATHOLIC CULTURAL thing - it needs to be everywhere, in our homilies, talked about in our homes, affirmed by parishioners (hey Billy, you'd make a great priest) it needs to be talked about by our bishops, it needs to be a part of every Catholic school, we need to support programs that are proven to nurture vocations.  Not just TRY them.  Mandate them.  From the top.

I know I need more business skills.  But pardon me if it rings a little hollow at the moment when I'm asked to become more business savvy when the Church at the diocesan level across the country doesn't seem to be incorporating those same business-minded principles themselves.

If Theo Epstein Ran the Church

The Boston Red Sox had not won the World Series since 1918.  The Chicago Cubs had not won the World Series since 1908.

People wondered aloud if the franchises were cursed.

One man came in and provided first the Red Sox and then the Cubs with franchise make-overs that led to the Red Sox winning World Series championships in 2004 (and again in 2007) and the Chicago Cubs winning it all in 2016.

How did Theo Epstein do it?

Each baseball franchise has several teams beneath it that feed into the Major League team.  Epstein emphasized player development and rebuilt both franchises' farm systems

EVERY general manager TALKS about nurturing talent, but most do not actually execute it or have a plan that doesn't work.


I think as a Church in the US it seems we take the same approach as most major league baseball teams - we TALK about developing our young people, but our plan isn't actually working and we seem to be okay with that.

I think a lot of times we wait for young men to call us and say "hey, I want to be a priest" or "hey, I want to get married"

What we need to be doing is really fostering the notion of vocations from a young age, and DEVELOP THAT TALENT WITH EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS THAT ARE WORKING

Priests and parents and bishops need to get together and put together a SYSTEMATIC approach that says WE ARE NOT NURTURING OUR CHILDREN, WE ARE NOT NURTURING VOCATIONS, WHAT SPECIFICALLY CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY???

Whether it is marriage, consecrated religious life, or priesthood, our farm system IS IN SHAMBLES

We reap what we sow, and so we shouldn't be surprised that we are struggling to develop young people committed to marriage, nor should we be surprised that a lack of young people are interested in the priesthood or religious life

We need to have a real serious talk about what we can do to help develop our young people into saints.  We need to reexamine our farm system, and I think a lot of what we are doing needs to be burned down and rebooted

Image result for whoever wants the next generation the most will get them

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Government and Religion Unchained From Truth

How Does a Catholic Pull the Lever for Hillary?

I have no idea how a Catholic could possibly pull the lever for Hillary Clinton

I know the Church's teaching: you can vote for someone who puts forward intrinsic evils as long as you aren't voting for those intrinsic evils. So technically you could vote for a politician whose platform is 99% evil as long as you don't intend to vote for the 99% but only the 1% that is good.

But my goodness

What is she right on?

She's for partial birth abortion. The Church is against it

She is for abortion. The Church is against it.

She's for same sex "marriage". The Church is against it.

She's for the American  welfare. The Church is against it.

She's for the contraceptive mandate of the ACA. The Church is against it.

She has been caught in lie after lie. The Church is against lying.

She is against Religious freedom. The Church is for it.

She is for open borders. The Church says countries have the right to have borders.

She says you should have the right to physician assisted suicide. The Church is against it.

She is against subsidiarity. The Church is for it.

We could go on and on here. As a person not voting for Trump either, I have NO IDEA how a practicing Catholic goes into the booth and casts a positive vote for Hillary Clinton.

And remember, if no one votes for Trump, he won't be president. If no one votes for Clinton, she won't be president.

All Souls' Day, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Reflection on the Potential of Holy Days of Obligation

Muslims and Jews rightly seem to have no problem requesting off work/requesting to leave early/come in late for binding religious observances and for their important worship services...and bosses are happy to let that happen unless they desire to be sued for billions of dollars.

Catholics should model that devotion! Tomorrow, November 1, is a holy day of obligation. There are lots of Masses tonight and there are Masses all day and night tomorrow all over the country.

Catholics should go in to their boss/professor/principal and let them know that they need to leave a bit early tonight/come in a bit late tomorrow morning/leave a bit early tomorrow.

Parents - what a WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY to show your children that Catholicism matters. "Kids, we are going to Mass tomorrow, so call your coaches/bosses/etc. and let them know we won't be able to come tomorrow evening because we'll be in Church."

I talk to a lot of parents who lament their children leaving the Catholic Faith behind as young adults. A great question to ask - did you instill in them at any point that Catholicism has some non-negotiable things that EVERYthing else takes a backseat too? If not, then why in the world would anyone expect them to grow up and think of Catholicism as anything other than a cultural decoration?

For those who do not attend a holy day Mass tonight or tomorrow, remember that you must confess that sin before receiving Holy Communion again (unless you are sick or caring for someone who is sick). But that is NOT the reason to go - go because it actually does our souls good to worship and praise God a few times a year outside our normal cycle of weekend Mass!