Monday, August 4, 2008

For accountant, variable was call to priesthood

In the vocational version of Call Waiting, Philip Bogacki was well on his way to becoming a CPA when he switched back. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee last Thursday.
"I think the (accounting background) will be very beneficial. It's a way of thinking that will be very useful. Something that I think our churches are lacking is good, solid administrative skills so that we can more easily and effectively proclaim the Word of God," he said, adding that nearly every pastor he meets tells him that the accounting background will be invaluable.

If our parishes are lacking in "good, solid administrative skills", it might be because (last I heard) priests take no courses in parish administration in the seminary. While a parish might have someone with administrative skill on staff, and many such people among its members, delegating appears to be among the skills not taught in the seminary. This might explain why so many priests come across as obsessed with parish finances or administrative minutiae while calling themselves "a people person".

Among things not delegated is talking about money. Someone has to talk (or write) about money but it could be, for example, a finance committee chair. The pastor could talk about mission and stewardship and generosity. A priest's homily could point out how things the parish does, or would like to do, are from the Bible readings we just heard. If the Gospel says feed the hungry, something the parish does that feeds the hungry could be worth mentioning in a homily, with follow-up in a closing announcement. Otherwise that it's part of where the money goes winds up buried in the parish website.
Although Bogacki noted that younger clergy are, at times, unfairly stereotyped as being too conservative or traditional, he looks forward to building bridges.

There might be priests who long ago set out to build bridges, only to wind up unable to build a ladder to the top of their rut.
Calling the stereotypes "unfortunate," Bogacki said he loses patience with the perspective.

Any conservative or traditional young priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will need plenty of patience with the perspective that he's too conservative or traditional.

(linked article by Maryangela Layman Roman,
Milwaukee Catholic Herald, July 24, 2008)

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:31 PM

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  2. Anonymous 10:31 PM, you might more neutrally say Archbishop Dolan did not "clean house" soon after arrival. He might have thought he could bring about the needed changes without removing people from positions of responsibility, but that wasn't likely to turn out to be the case, and hasn't. Thus, if a new priest shares Archbishop Dolan's general outlook, he might find resistance to change among senior priests and in the staffs of parishes and other organizations. In fact, he might find himself isolated and under pressure to support the pre-Dolan status quo. Close enough?

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  3. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Something rotteth in Wisconsin if the perception is the church needs better administrator-priests instead of holy priests. I'll take one holy priest over ten accountant/priests anyday.

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  4. "Something rotteth in Wisconsin if the perception is the church needs better administrator-priests instead of holy priests."

    My perception is we'd benefit from trained leader-priests who oversee administration only to the extent necessary to see that it serves the mission.

    "I'll take one holy priest over ten accountant/priests anyday."

    On the other hand, we will face a kind of accounting. Karen Marie Knapp once said we're called to be faithful, not called to be effective. My view is it's not faithful to a mission to teach all nations, for example, if no one's learning even though we covered everything in the lesson plans.

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  5. Thank goodness there are universities out there with Church Management/Administration master's programs.

    Priests should worry about their sacramental duties and hire someone with management skills/credentials to take care of the temporal goods that are used in the mission.

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