The Diocese of Burlington hosted a Parish Administrative Training Oct. 8 at the Bishop Brady Center in South Burlington, designed for new pastors/administrators, but all clergy were welcome to attend.
“We began these training days under [previous] Bishop [Salvatore] Matano and decided that it was time to renew our efforts to equip our priests to be prepared to address the challenges which arise from different areas of parish life,” explained Msgr. John McDermott, vicar general.
According to Mary Foster, executive director of human resources for the Diocese of Burlington, the purpose of the meeting was “to train new pastors on the administrative duties and responsibilities of their new role and to equip them with the necessary information, processes and procedures to execute those duties and responsibilities.”
Among the presenters were representatives from the diocesan offices of human resources, finance and safe environment programs.
Topics included financial policies and procedures including the handling of cash and approving and paying invoices as well as the responsibilities and authority of finance councils and pastors. In addition, information was shared on VIRTUS Online registration instructions, safe environment training, background checks and the Code of Conduct and Policies on Ethics and Integrity in Ministry.
“Perhaps the most important thing taught during the trainings is the reminder to the priests that the chancery and all of its offices exist to assist them [parish priests] to fulfill their ministry well,” Msgr. McDermott said. “They are reminded that when a question comes up, which it will, remember to call us for assistance if you’re not sure how to address the question.”
Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne has implemented a twice yearly “Priests’ Business Day” to ensure on-going education for the priests in relationship to administration of the parishes. These days often include updates from all the diocesan offices.
“We will have days specifically for new pastors and administrators as we move into the future, as well as the twice yearly business days for all priests,” Msgr. McDermott said.
In addition, the Diocese is hosting a professional development day for all parish administrative assistants and bookkeepers. Presenters will include the diocesan offices of human resources, finance, and evangelization/catechesis. The theme for the day is “Reflections” and “will focus on equipping these valuable parish employees with the most up-to-date information, processes and procedures they need to excel in their responsibilities, as they are often the first point-of-contact for parishioners and the community,” Foster said.
There are three opportunities to attend: Oct. 16 at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Stowe; Oct. 23 at Holy Cross Parish in Colchester; and Oct. 30 at Christ the King Parish in Rutland.
All sessions are from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.