As a priest and pastor, I read a lot about "management" techniques that mostly come from the business world. This is largely due to my fear of what I don't know in the area of running a parish and managing the relationships that go along with that. However, I always must remind myself that my vocation is not about "business" - it is about the Gospel and helping others to hear it and to encounter Jesus Christ through it. My Uncle Austin, who was an auxiliary bishop here in Baltimore, used to tell his prier friends, "I didn't sign up for GM." He was aware that the Church can never fall into simple, worldly business mentalities if She wants to continue sharing the saving message of the Gospel.
That being said, I have learned much from the business world as far as techniques to assist in managing the temporal aspect of priestly ministry. Right now, I am reading The Disney Way, by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson, which explores the techniques that the Disney company employs to be and remain successful. They flow from the philosophy of Walt Disney himself, who said, "I dream, I test my dream against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true." The authors call this "the Disney Way," and it is summarized as "Dream. Believe. Dare. Do."
This is a philosophy that I hope to enact better in my own parishes now. For those who follow me from beyond my local sphere (all two of you!), I am pastor of two parishes in Southeast Baltimore County, St. Luke and Our Lady of Hope. Together, I want these parishes - my family - to grow in holiness and to share that saving relationship with Jesus Christ in our local church. So, for those of my parishioners who read this, we will have some work to do - so stay tuned! For those of you beyond, I will periodically share how things are going here as well.
Today, we celebrate St. Francis DeSales, who helped us learn that holiness and devotion are not the sole possession of a special few. They are lived out where we are in our state in life. As a patron saint of communicators, he is aware that the job of sharing the Gospel and saving souls is not accomplished by only one person's dreaming. It must be shared and lived by all. In Church-world, the "Dream" is to have everyone have a real, personal relationship with Jesus Christ through a vibrant faith community in our parishes. It has to start there.
Friends, let's dream together!