Theology, philosophy, canon law: These are the traditional subjects in priestly formation and education. But when a priest is assigned as a pastor of a parish, he is tasked with the management of the parish’s material goods and personnel as well as with the care of its parishioners.
To assist priests who serve as administrators of parishes and other religious institutions, beginning this fall The Catholic University of America Busch School of Business and Economics will offer an online Master of Science in Ecclesial Administration and Management (M.E.A.M.).
The 30-credit curriculum is designed in collaboration with the Catholic University Schools of Theology and Religious Studies, Canon Law, and Architecture and Planning in order to maximize the student-priests’ access to University experts who can educate them in intersecting subject areas. The curriculum is based on proven best practices from these disciplines to provide clergy with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage administrative responsibilities and challenges of today’s parishes and religious institutions.
Special emphasis will be given to fundraising, transparent management of financial resources, the good organization and management of employees, and effective communication strategies. The degree promotes the dual aims of emphasizing faithful stewardship and fostering growth through evangelization.
The M.E.A.M. program has been endorsed by many bishops and cardinals, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and chancellor of the University; Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Vatican; Archbishop Jóse Gómez of Los Angeles; and Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen, N.J.
“The Master’s Degree in Ecclesial Administration and Management will be a welcome resource to guide pastors and their finance councils through a planning and budgeting cycle with an eye to good consultation, collaboration, and communication,” says Cardinal Wuerl. “Priests will learn how to make pastoral planning, budgeting, and financial transparency a regular part of parish life. A parish that institutes a pastoral planning process that enables it to discern how the Lord is calling the parish to serve his people can better address how to match appropriate resources to its ministries, and nurture good stewards.”
“Coping well with human and economic capital is not a simple matter, especially for those men whose pastoral ministry places them on the front lines of the administration of the Church,” says Mario Enzler, director of the program. “The M.E.A.M. program is founded upon an appreciation of the primacy of the missionary nature of the Church and a recognition of the necessity for a certain facility with the more secular, technical expertise in finance and management … especially in these times marked by increasingly scarce resources and ever-changing rules and structures.”
“Catholic University was established to serve both Church and nation,” says William Bowman, dean of the Busch School of Business and Economics. “Through this new master’s program, our faculty are responding to that founding mission by ensuring that our nation’s priests are educated to be effective managers in their pastoral work.”