All Blog Posts (75)

The role of pastoral staff must change from "doers" of ministry to facilitators of others

There can be a tendency in Catholic parishes for the assembly to rely too heavily on staff, both ordained and lay.  When the inevitable transitions occur--either through normal personnel changes or restricted budgets--it becomes all too apparent that ministry is the work of the assembly and that the role of staff is to facilitate that role rather than do ministry directly.  This can be a difficult change for both staff and assembly, one for which most pastoral staff members have not been…


Added by Bill Pickett on August 1, 2012 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

Meaningful Engagement of Young Adults

The following is a excerpt from the discussion of a work group at the Leadership Roundtable's Annual Meeting regarding engaging young adults.  What suggestions, ideas, or responses to this discussion would you add?  How have you engaged young adults in a replicable and scaleable way?

"Emerging Adults” = identity exploration, instability, self-focused, in-between, possibilities (18-24)

  • Mentorship is important
  • Religion does matter and makes a difference…

Added by Peter Denio on July 13, 2012 at 11:47am — No Comments

Good pastors consult

Jeff Korgen recently wrote that the "pastoral" council exists to help the pastor in his apostolate.  In other words, the good pastor consults because he wants to make wise decisions on behalf of the parish for which he is legally responsible. 

But some people will react against Jeff's statement.  It will strike some as a defense of clericalism.  Pastoral councils are…


Added by Mark F. Fischer on June 11, 2012 at 11:30am — No Comments

THE one thing that matters in pastoral leadership...

In perhaps the best article I have read IN YEARS on parish pastoral leadership found on the Faith and Leadership website at Duke University's Divinity School, Paul Feela offers the following:

Despite feeling inadequate in administration, Paul…


Added by Peter Denio on June 8, 2012 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

"Managing" Multiple Parishes in Boston

As the Archdiocese of Boston continues its multi-year reorganization of parishes into "Pastoral Collaboratives", pastors and lay leaders continue to wrestle with the challenges.

The Rev. Jason Worthley (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe…


Added by Michael Brough on June 7, 2012 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Moving Beyond the Annual Budget

A key contributor to the weakness in financial and ministry sustainability in Catholic parishes is the over reliance on the  annual budget. Sometimes this is bolstered with statements to "have faith, God will provide", but usually the statements are actually a form of anxiety and conflict avoidance.

In the past 5 years, I have been advocating for 5 + years of comprehensive financial modeling and two year budgets with annual refinements. The financial model must account for household…


Added by Dennis Cheesebrow on May 24, 2012 at 4:46pm — No Comments

Vocation of the Business Leader

This past Friday the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace released  the educational aid Vocation of the Business Leader (Business%20Leader%20Vocation.pdf).  While targeted at the world of business, we might seek to explore how the principles adhere in a pastoral or Church setting, much like the Catholic Standards for…


Added by Peter Denio on April 4, 2012 at 5:27pm — No Comments

Unusual study asks former Catholics why they left the Church. I wonder where that idea came from?

Do you know why people are leaving your parish?

Speaking to the Leadership Roundtable in 2008, Mr Larry Bossidy, retired Chairman & CEO of

Honeywell International suggested that parishes conduct exit interviews to find out.

The first [suggestion] is to establish a parish committee for the retention of Catholics. In other words, when people drop out of the Church, do exit interviews to find out why they are leaving. There are a number of common reasons why…


Added by Michael Brough on March 25, 2012 at 8:00pm — 1 Comment

Training Seminarians for Pastoral Leadership

Even in the post-Vatican II era of collaborative ministry, bishops only entrust parishes to ordained pastors.  Such pastors rely on professional staffs and competent volunteers, as well as on pastoral and finance council members.  But none of them have more than what Canon Law calls a "consultative vote."  The buck stops with the pastor.  He alone can make legal decisions on behalf of the parish, and the good pastor must be a prudent leader as well as a good shepherd.

All the more…


Added by Mark F. Fischer on March 24, 2012 at 1:30pm — 3 Comments

Pastoral Leadership in a Catholic Megaparish

Jeff Parrott has a fascinating article in US Catholic, Where 20,000 or 30,000 are gathered: Life in a Catholic megaparish,

Leadership Roundtable member Sr. Katarina Schuth is quoted in the article:

“She says tomorrow’s priests and lay leaders must be prepared to deal with the…


Added by Michael Brough on March 19, 2012 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Attracting the "best and brightest" into ministry

Ross Douthat writing on Religion and the Social Crisis recently in the New York Times raised the important question of how we attract "the best and brightest" into Church ministry.:

"Institutions are only as strong as their personnel, and the major religious bodies in the United States have struggled mightily since the 1960s to attract large numbers of…


Added by Michael Brough on March 16, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments

How do we double the 3 percent of Latino families enrolled in Catholic Schools?

Catholic leaders recognize that for Catholic schools to flourish, we must be more successful in attracting Latino families to enroll their children and have to find ways to ensure Catholic education is affordable to these families.

This was one of the topics featured at the Leadership Roundtable's 2011 conference at Georgetown University focusing on FROM ASPIRATIONS TO ACTION: Solutions…


Added by Michael Brough on March 15, 2012 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

U.S. Catholic Survey: 10 Years After the Dallas Charter to Protect Children

The Catholic Standards for Excellence call for full implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth.

10 Years after the sexual abuse crisis erupted in the Catholic Church, U.S. Catholic is conducting a…


Added by Michael Brough on March 12, 2012 at 5:31pm — No Comments

Lenten Blessings!

Message of Pope Benedict XVI for Lent 2012. "Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works." (Heb 10:24)

"The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the sacraments. This journey is one marked by prayer and sharing, silence and fasting, in…


Added by Michael Brough on February 22, 2012 at 12:18pm — No Comments

New Cardinal doesn't like being called CEO, despite major administrative responsibilities

The largest diocese in Canada is in transition and at it's helm is new Cardinal, Thomas Collins.  The Toronto Star explores the challenges:

Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins doesn’t like being called…


Added by Michael Brough on February 21, 2012 at 11:32am — No Comments

What makes a pastoral council "pastoral"?

It has been common to distinguish between "pastoral" and "parish" councils since the publication in 1983 of the Code of Canon Law, which recommended parish pastoral councils.  Today we prefer the superior "pastoral" council to the old "parish" council, which …


Added by Mark F. Fischer on February 20, 2012 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

National Standards, anyone?

An editorial in the February 27, 2012 issue of America magazine calls for transparency, accountability and national standards for financial stewardship at all levels of the Catholic Church:

"To be proper stewards of the financial resources they have been given, church officials must adopt transparent and fiscally responsible practices at all levels. A national…


Added by Michael Brough on February 17, 2012 at 1:25pm — 4 Comments

Full Tuition Scholarships - Lay Ecclesial Ministry Students

The Leadership Roundtable is proud to co-sponsor the National Symposium on Lay Ecclesial Ministry which has met at Saint John's University, Collegeville, MN in 2007 and 2011.

Over 40 Catholic organizations and institutions have invested in the National Symposium and three grants were recently awarded…


Added by Michael Brough on February 16, 2012 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Be inspired...

A great five-minute video from the St. Thomas More Newman Center at Ohio State University. 

Will put a smile on your face and give you great hope for the future

Visit for more…


Added by Michael Brough on February 8, 2012 at 9:40am — No Comments

A Question for the Weekend: On Collaboration

I have been invited to participate in a conversation on Monday about collaboration in ministry.  I am usually not stuck for things to say (as some of you know!) and have some experience and opinions on collaboration which I will share with the group. One aspect I will bring to the discussion is that social networking technologies have made broader consultation and collaboration easier, so I thought I would test out that theory by putting out this Weekend Question topic to…


Added by Michael Brough on February 3, 2012 at 3:19pm — 2 Comments

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