This week's Realign Resources for Mission Principle:
“A healthy parish in the Diocese of Lansing equips and empowers parish staff by ensuring those staff are paid competitively."
Realign Resources for Mission Principle 2.4
Chief of Staff, Diocese of Lansing
October 7 , 2021
Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
Over the last three weeks this weekly Realign Resources for Mission update has examined the various aspects of the second pillar of the RRM vision: A healthy parish in the Diocese of Lansing equips and empowers parish staff.
Lisa Kutas, our Diocesan Director of Human Resources, shared why it’s important to recruit, hire and retain disciples who love Jesus and desire to share Him with others in a meaningful way. Brian Flynn, our Diocesan Director of Middle School/High School Ministry, encouraged moderators, pastors and leadership teams to pray and discern well the areas of ministry and service most essential to their communities, so that they have sufficient staff to fulfill the mission. Meanwhile, our Director of the Diocese of Lansing's Office of New Evangelization, Craig Pohl, told us that according to Patrick Lencioni, the notable organizational health consultant, the work we do in the Church is perhaps the most important work on the planet. I happen to think he’s right!
This leads us to this week’s topic: “A healthy parish in the Diocese of Lansing equips and empowers parish staff by ensuring those staff are paid competitively." Providing fair and equitable compensation is a matter of justice.
Lay men and women providing leadership and administration within parishes is a reality that began to grow in the post-Vatican II period and has continued to evolve over the last 50-60 years. In many ways, the movement towards increased lay participation in parish leadership, especially in areas of ministry, has taken place organically and from the ground up. This participation has grown from, perhaps, a housekeeper working in the rectory and a receptionist working in the parish office to what we see in many parishes today: large full-time staff providing key services ranging from basic bookkeeping to directing religious education programs. Many, if not most men and women, have prepared for these roles through education and bring extensive expertise to our parishes in their particular area of professional competence. Many make sacrifices to work in the Church, as you read last week in Brian Flynn’s article, but they are passionate about the Gospel and feel that God has called them to their particular role and work.
If you watch Father Mathias Thelen’s video, also contained in this week’s update, you will hear him speak about the importance for pastors of having a competent, capable staff working alongside them in the mission of our Church. Our pastors can’t do this work alone! Father Mathias shares how important it is to adequately compensate those staff for their work: it’s a matter of justice and human dignity. Often, though, we find lay men and women working for substandard wages and without adequate benefits needed to support themselves and their families. There may be reasons for this. For example, a lack of financial resources within the parish.
My own journey from secular work to “Church work” began as a volunteer helping with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process at my parish. I did this work in addition to a full-time job in the computer industry. Although I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing, at some point I recognized that leadership of a primary ministry within the Church really needed to be done by a paid staff member. I wasn’t at staff meetings where important mission-driven conversations were happening and resource allocation was being discussed. For the ministry to have the appropriate dignity and representation that it deserved, I needed to be a paid staff person. This doesn’t mean that we should dispense with volunteers in our parishes — they are vital to the everyday happenings within our parishes and provide an important means of fulfilling our baptismal call to share the Good News of Jesus with others. But leadership of important, critical ministries needs to be provided by paid staff who can give that ministry their undivided attention.
Another important aspect of this pillar is the recognition that we don’t have many younger men and women choosing a career in ministry. We desperately need their voices at the table! Providing competitive compensation packages will improve our ability to attract younger men and women into parish work. As Lisa Kutas shared a few weeks back, parishes can get creative in the ways they can offer both intrinsic and extrinsic value to those who come to work for our parishes and, ultimately, for God. Part of that must be fair and just wages and benefits recognizing the importance of both the worker and the service they provide.
Our discernment about how to best realign resources for mission invites parishes to look at how they can best allocate resources towards finding, hiring, and retaining the best and most qualified intentional disciples. We also invite the parish groupings to be creative and innovative as they look at the collective resources they have at their disposal. We invite them to work towards adequate staffing across the parish grouping that is competent, sufficient and clearly on board with the mission of our diocese: form communities of missionary disciples who go and announce the gospel of the Lord.
As Pope Francis says, “We are not simply talking about ensuring nourishment or a ‘dignified sustenance’ for all people, but also their ‘general temporal welfare and prosperity’. This means education, access to health care, and above all employment, for it is through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives. A just wage enables them to have adequate access to all the other goods which are destined for our common use. (#192, Evangelii Gaudium, 2013).
Yours in Christ,
Chief of Staff, Diocese of Lansing
Watch: Watch this short video by Father Mathias Thelen, Chairman of the Realign Resources for Mission Committee and Pastor of Saint Patrick in Brighton, as he reflects upon this week's RRM principle: “A healthy parish in the Diocese of Lansing equips and empowers parish staff by ensuring those staff are paid competitively."
This Week's Friday Prayer Intention:
Please pray for all married couples in the Diocese of Lansing that Our Lady, Queen of the Family, protects their sacred union, keeping it ever chaste and pure. Amen.
Guidelines for Friday Prayer:
Prayer: At three o’clock each Friday afternoon pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To help with prayer, Eucharistic Adoration from Saint Mary Cathedral in Lansing will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook. If you can’t manage to pray at 3pm? Just say the Holy Rosary whenever you can.
Fasting: The present norms for fasting suggest that we eat no more than one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. It is also permissible to attempt a strict fast. A penitent’s age and health should always be taken into consideration before fasting.
Almsgiving: Giving alms is a “work of justice pleasing to God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2462). Hence, each Friday we should donate money or goods to the poor or perform another act of charity. Let’s not reach sundown on a Friday without having poured out some of the content of our heart or our wallet or both during the day.