Villanova Takes Church Management Courses on Road
Filteau, Jerry, National Catholic Reporter
About 130 Hawaiian Catholic priests spent a good part of their five-day annual Priests' Convocation this May attending courses on church management by Philadelphia's Villanova University--in a resort town about 30 miles from Honolulu.
"It's much more cost-effective for us to go to them than for them to come to us," said Villanova's Charles Zech, who led the program.
Instead of sending more than 80 percent of its diocesan and religious clergy across the Pacific to Pennsylvania for a week, the diocese brought Villanova to Hawaii.
It asked Pennsylvania's oldest Catholic university, run by the Augus-tinians, to bring in teachers from the Center for the Study of Church Management to lead a series of 90-minute to three-hour modules during the yearly diocesan clergy gathering May 2-6 in Kahuku, a beach resort town near Honolulu.
Among sessions were three-hour courses on how pastors should deal with parish financial issues and with human resources--the hiring, firing, promotion and development of the people, mainly laity, who play an increasing role in the dynamics of today's Catholic parishes.
Jesuit Fr. William J. Byron, an economist and former president of Scranton University in Pennsylvania and The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., led a session on the spirituality of administration.
Zech, director of Villanova's church management center and a specialist in church economics, led a session on how to develop parish councils and make them an effective part of collaborative parish leadership.
"It's the wave of the future," Zech told NCR regarding the road-show approach to teaching better management techniques to priests and other church leaders across the nation.
The center, part of Villanova's School of Business, was formed in 2004 to offer more professional training in church administration and management to pastors and others involved in church administration.
Until recently, its two main components were a summer institute and a two-year master's degree program, open to non-Catholic as well as Catholic administrators.
In the summer program, "we have this church management institute that we run every year," Zech said. "We bring in folks from all over the country" for a week of intensive study on church management topics. …