November Topic: Support From Pastors
- Greetings to the Body of Christ - all you Saints in formation!!
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The topic for November is "Support From Pastors." How do you interact and communicate with your pastor? Do you have regular staff meetings? Is he present and visible when RE is in session or has a special activity? Let's hear about the positives, the less than perfect, and dreams for the future.
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May this November be a time of Peace and Thanksgiving for each of you!
Kathy Viele, Dre-talk Moderator
DRE Beatitudes of Our Lord Parish
13013 So. Santa Gertrudes
La Mirada, CA 90638
- We have a calendar meeting which is called "staffing" each month. At this meeting each administrator goes over the activities that he or she has planned for the next month or two. Issues really are not dealt with at this meeting because the calendar stuff takes up all the time.As of this fall, we now have a parish administrators meeting once a month as well. This is not a calendar meeting, but is an issues and vision meeting where we discuss upcoming parish activities, or policy issues or anything else that comes up.Father attends both of these meetings.Father is involved in RCIA when he is available. Since SMRE is between his two masses ( at two different parishes) he doesn't really have involvement with the Sunday Morning kids, but except for Friday school mass he really doesn't have much contact with the school kids either.He isn't very good at praise, but so long as you are doing your job he doesn't meddle much either.I would say that we have a pretty good working relationship. I get the support I need from him when issues warrant it. I might wish for a bit more from him in some areas, but if there had to be a trade off ( lose something he does now to get something more) I would keep the status quo.Maggie
- It would be helpful to us on the NPCD (National Association of Parish
Catechetical Directors) Executive Committee to get a clearer picture of what
is meant by "support from pastors." When we send our report to the Bishops on
the issues affecting catechetical leaders, they appreciate the input from
across the country that puts "flesh" on the issues.
In one conversation with catechetical leaders, one person said that it meant
there is clarity in performance expectations and agreement on priorities
Others meant affirmation and having someone support decisions.
Others broadened the pastor support to pastoral support to include associates
(parochial vicars), seminarians, principals, and other leaders.
Some felt ongoing formation, appreciation of the role of catechetical
leaders, or financial compensation were involved in the word "support."
I guess sometimes in our roles as catechetical leaders we can tell when it is
missing better than when it is present. If you have some ideas on how to
improve pastor support--success stories--, please include them.
Whatever your experience, your response is helpful to get a broader picture.
Thank you for your input.
Michele Idiart Walsh
West Region NPCD Rep
- It's my personal opinion that the basic need of anyone in parish ministry re:
support from a pastor is knowing that he regards the minister as a competent,
faith-filled professional. The rest (compensation, presence at meetings and
events, staff meetings, etc.) flows from that basic regard.
In my own case, I have a relatively new (since Jan. 2001) pastor who supports
me and the rest of the staff in the way I mention above. He has pretty much
of an "open door" policy for interaction with us. It is very easy to ask for
time to test an idea or plan for a meeting. And, he seeks us out for advice
and counsel as well. Before he came on board, we had staff meetings three
times month. Now we meet every week for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
He has another ministry responsibility outside the parish that will conclude
in about 7 months. After that, he will not have to divide his time and
energy as much as he does now. Because of that time and energy problem, he
cannot be as visible to the parents and the children in the RE program as he
would like. Recently, our coordinator of children (pre-school through junior
high) moved her "Back to School Night" to a "Back to School Sunday Morning"
after one of the masses. The pastor came to the event, spoke to the parents
and children, and stayed to help us clean up! He made a point of saying to
my coordinator and me that he especially wanted to spend the morning with
this community because he felt he was a bit derelict in his duty to them. He
wanted a chance to get to know them better.
I don't want to paint too rosy a picture here. We still have a lot of things
to accomplish and work out, but it's so much easier to do when there is a
basic human regard, one for the other, on a team or staff.
- I would like to have a pastor who respects me as a professional and as a
Catholic Christian. I would like him to be someone with whom I can discuss
issues and policies, who listens sympathetically and openly and feels free
to comment, who can give and take. And, maybe this is most important, I
would like a pastor who will support me and my decisions, standing with me
if they are disputed.
This last criterion is very important, since we all know parishioners who
will attempt to go over the head of the DRE to the pastor in order to get
their way. We all end up in binds from time to time, in which we have to
make choices that a parent does not agree with---perhaps in dealing with a
serious discipline problem, for example. There is nothing so undermining
than to have the pastor take the side of the angry parent instead of
upholding the decision of the DRE. I know pastors hate to alienate their
flock, but there are times when it's also important to maintain the esprit
de corps of the ministry staff.