Nearly 30 bishops spent a week at The Catholic University of America this summer to participate in the Bishop’s Executive Program, a first-of-its-kind program intended to provide business training for bishops from around the country.
The clerics — most of whom were installed as bishops in the past five to seven years — attended a wide variety of classes the week of July 29 through Aug. 3, covering topics that included budgeting, strategy and operations, human resources management, communications, crisis management, and stewardship.
Mario Enzler, the founder and director of the program, said the program offered training and tools “to support our shepherds in their very specific administrative capacities, introducing them to new approaches and methodologies, as well as to the managerial and organizational techniques necessary for responding to, resolving, and hopefully even preventing administrative crises at the diocesan and parish levels.”
“There is an inextricable link between the character and quality of organizations and the fiber of those who lead them,” he said. “Our goal is to help the bishops be successful in their ministries. We’re taking best practices from the secular business environment to help them maximize their efforts to become effective diocesan leaders who are more available to their priests.”
Among the participating bishops was Bishop Edward J. Burns of the Diocese of Dallas, Texas.
“Within the Church, we as leaders have a responsibility for being accountable to the people of God,” Bishop Burns said. “Having a program like this assists in that goal, so that we can be accountable for the way in which we oversee the Church, the way we manage ecclesial affairs, the way we truly use their resources for the good of the Church, and the advancement of the Gospel message.”
The program was sponsored by the University’s Busch School of Business in collaboration with the schools of Theology and Religious Studies and Canon Law.
Earlier this summer, close to 20 priests from dioceses across the country completed a similar program through the Busch School that was also geared toward helping prepare them to be effective leaders. The first class of graduates earned master’s degrees in Ecclesial Administration and Management (M.E.A.M.) A new class of clergy began the one-year, 30-credit online program on Aug. 5.