The most important mission on earth, million dollar or more budgets, staffs of both paid and volunteer people, buildings and grounds, congregations large and small…and the most important mission ever given. What does it take to steward all of that in such a way that God’s kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven? What does it take to care for all those God has entrusted to you in such a way that they are enabled to embrace Jesus and enter into his mission? What does it mean to love Christ and His Church enough to deeply desire to lead others to Him and into His mission? It takes a Jesus-centered leadership, a kind of servant leadership that is grounded in concepts and skills particular to leadership.
Contrast that with this description of seminary formation. “The bulk of seminary coursework is in the areas of philosophy and theology. These classes include Sacred Scripture, Gospels, Sacraments, Acts and the New Testament. In addition, you’ll study the history and teachings of the Catholic Church, foreign languages and moral theology. You’ll also have a significant amount of time spent serving in the faith community.” 1 And this curriculum description. “Following the philosophical studies, either as a college degree or in pre-theology, seminarians study four years of theology, including subjects such as Sacred Scripture, Trinitarian theology, Christology, Pneumatology, Ecclesiology, Moral Theology, Liturgy and the Sacraments, Church History, Canon Law, and Homiletics” 2 And note that the formation of lay ecclesial ministers takes its content and structure from the document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord 3, a pattern based on formation offered in seminaries: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. While it is certainly possible that within one or more of those categories the topic of leadership might occur, I suspect it does so far less often than needed if or when it does.
This begs these questions then:
- Where and when do those ordained to the priesthood or the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church and lay ecclesial ministers acquire the leadership concepts, skills and apprenticeship/coaching they need in order to carry our Jesus’ mission?
- Who mandates this and provides the benchmarks for growth in leadership?
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1 https://learn.org/articles/Catholic_Seminary_Your_Questions_Answered.html Accessed 10/17/19
2 St John Paul II Seminary, Archdiocese of Washington, DC https://dcpriest.org/what-does-a-seminarian-study, https://dcpriest.org/pillars-of-formation
3 http://www.usccb.org/upload/co-workers-vineyard-lay-ecclesial-ministry-2005.pdf Accessed 10/18/19