Senior members of Catholic Charities offices nationwide will gather Nov. 7-10 (Sunday-Wednesday) at the University of Notre Dame for the first session of a new educational program designed to enhance the administration and strengthen the leadership of their organization.
"From Mission to Service: A Program on Mission-based Leadership and Organization Development" is underwritten by Notre Dame and designed by the Mendoza College of Business specifically for officers and board members of Catholic Charities offices. The program’s instructors include members of Notre Dame’s theology and business faculty as well as other national figures. Among those teaching in the first session are Lawrence Cunningham, John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology; Joseph Holt, director of executive education programming for the Executive MBA program; Gerard Baumbach, director of the Center for Catechetical Initiatives; and Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president and treasurer of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Boston and this year’s recipient of Notre Dame’s highest honor, the Laetare Medal.
One of the designers of the program, Father Hehir observed that Catholic Charities organizations are in transition. Forty years ago, nearly all of the Catholic Charities organizations were headed by priests, and now 75 percent of the executive directors are laypeople. "This shift will require us to attend to Catholic identity in new ways," said Carolyn Woo, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business. "This program results from the collaboration of lay and clerical leaders, and between business faculty and theologians. It is an innovation with spiritual and social significance."
The program is intended to help those who work in Catholic Charities to "develop a leadership vision for their organization that reflects a faith-based mission, understand how the rich heritage of Catholic social teaching anchors their work today, incorporate the principle of faith-based mission as their organization’s strategic driver, develop awareness and skills regarding values-based decision-making, develop a framework for linking mission-based values to organizational systems and practices, and build a strong, national network of colleagues with similar interests."
The second program session will take place in March.
The Catholic Charities network consists of more than 1,400 local agencies and institutions nationwide. They annually assist nearly 7 million people in need of emergency aid, counseling, adoption assistance, housing, and numerous other services. They also coordinate the efforts of more than 220,000 volunteers.