GREEN BAY -- Reexamine what your parish does. Then think big to figure out how to engage and excite parishioners to better carry out the mission of Christ.
That's the challenge Mark Mogilka, Green Bay Diocese's director of Stewardship and Pastoral Services, will deliver Feb. 29 in the keynote address at the annual "Managing the Business of the Parish" workshop at St. Mary Church in Appleton.
The workshop is open to pastors, parish directors, parish business administrators/managers, bookkeepers, secretaries, trustees and buildings and grounds people. It is sponsored by Stewardship and Pastoral Services and is partially funded through the Bishop's Appeal, now under way in diocesan parishes.
Mogilka said he has spent much of the last 32 years as a diocesan bureaucrat helping to build vibrant parishes. Much of his work has focused on organization - developing mission statements and forming parish councils, finance councils and effective committees.
"While we obviously need structure, I think as a church we've lost some of our passion and some of our focus on mission," Mogilka said. "I think it's time to revisit how we organize parish and how we set priorities and really help people to carry out the mission of Jesus."
In his keynote talk, Mogilka said he will pose some questions he's been grappling with and highlight some recent research that has not yet been incorporated into the vision or practices of parishes.
"We really need to take a hard look at how we do parish," Mogilka said. "I think we need to start thinking much bigger thoughts and about much better possibilities and not be so complacent."
As a church, Catholics need to look at how they help people encounter the risen Christ in a way that changes their lives and then, as a parish, support them and evangelize by reaching out and welcoming others, Mogilka said.
In addition to Mogilka's keynote address, Rich Curran, diocesan director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, will speak on "Moving Parishes from Maintenance to Mission." Numerous other topics will be explored in breakout sessions.
One breakout Mogilka said he's excited about is a panel discussion, "Maintenance Management from a Green Perspective." It's timely both because of increased awareness of environmental issues, and from a pro-life perspective. "It's a unique and exciting way in which we can be more responsible with our environment," Mogilka said.
Breakouts also will be offered on sacramental record keeping, managing media, software, risk control, insurance, fund-raisers, worker's comp, volunteerism, employee issues and Advancing the Mission.
Also scheduled are optional roundtable discussions on "Political Do's and Don'ts for a Parish in an Election Year" and energy efficiency.
The conference is primarily an opportunity for those in parish business administration "to gather, to learn, to swap war stories and resources with one another and to continue the important ministry of administration," Mogilka said.
Diane Vanderheiden, business administrator, at St. Willebrord Parish, Green Bay, recommends the workshop because of the networking possibilities with other administrators and the opportunity to gain new insights.
"Especially if you haven't been a business administrator for a real long time, it gives real good overview of a lot of topics. Vanderheiden said. "They also work hard to have topics that we're dealing with, such as Advancing the Mission and all areas of stewardship."
For Patricia Shaha, business administrator at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Green Bay, "It is a worthwhile day spent away from office. I have always been able to take away some real practical applications for what I do in the parish, whether that's updates on benefits, or changes in worker's comp and the opportunity to network.
"One of the big benefits, especially for someone new to the parish setting, is it gives the opportunity for them to make connections that are so vital in tough situations by giving them someone to reach out to," Shaha said. "We're in sort of a Lone Ranger role, so sometimes it's really helpful to have a person in another parish to work things through with and to dialogue with."
Shaha said she also appreciates being able to grow spiritually because of the integration of business and the spiritual.
In discussing the key role the Bishop's Appeal plays in "Managing the Business of the Parish," Mogilka said, "Basically we wouldn't be able to do these kinds of workshops if it wasn't for the financial support of the Bishop's Appeal."
Because the diocese doesn't want to exclude parish leaders by charging a high fee, the amount charged does not cover all the expenses, such as staff time, stipends paid to some speakers, facility rental and meals, Mogilka said.
"The Bishop's Appeal is what funds some of the actual costs, primarily staff costs for the diocesan staff to make this happen," Mogilka said.
Salaries of many diocesan staff who are doing workshops are paid from the Bishop's Appeal, Mogilka said. "For example, I'm doing the keynote. I'm not getting a stipend and the department is not getting a stipend, or anything like that."
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