US bishops gather to discuss strategic planning, best practices

November 15, 2012

BALTIMORE--Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Allentown, PA, spoke about the need for effective diocesan strategic planning to a group of bishops at a meeting hosted by the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management during the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall Meeting in Baltimore this week.

“We cannot separate the universal call to holiness from the universal call to mission,” Bishop Barres said. He praised the Leadership Roundtable staff that assisted the Diocese of Allentown, calling the process “sincere, skillful and helpful” and noted  the “sophisticated analysis, which was financial, strategic and very direct. It was extremely helpful in pushing our analysis and quite frankly in pushing some of our tough decisions.”

Reflecting on the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith, efforts championed by Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Barres said that the Catholic Church must strive for excellence in all that it does, including managing its temporal affairs. “Why shouldn’t the universal sacrament of salvation, what we call the Catholic Church, the hope of humanity in the twenty-first century, with all our challenges, why shouldn’t it have outstanding management, accounting, and investment strategies?” he asked.

He went on, “If we responsibly manage the gifts we’ve been given, we are in service to the New Evangelization. If we’re working transparently as best we can and working toward that incrementally, that’s going to have a big impact on the different dimensions of the New Evangelization.”