At Good Leaders Good Shepherds, priests learn
The art of inspiring others to serve
The two-year “Good Leaders, Good Shepherds” program continued May 19-21 when priests from the Diocese of Dodge City and the Diocese of Salina gathered together for the second series of workshops, or “module,” at the Heartland Center in Great Bend.
“Though the module was entitled ‘Leadership in the Self Context,’ I was intrigued by a quote attributed to a parish priest who said, ‘If I think it is all about me, that it all rests on my shoulders, then it cannot be about God,’” commented Father Jim Dieker, pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Liberal.
“The module gave me a time to consider how to change my own behavior and point of view to focus and inspire the abilities and energies of others in achieving discerned and clear goals for the parish and the Church, ultimately for the glory of God. Though it was a reflection on self, it was always with the outward vision of living in the Kingdom.”
The gathering was the second of 16 that will take place through October 2010 at the Heartland Center or in Hays. While many are one-day sessions, others, such as this one, include overnight stays over a three or four day period.
The program is designed, in part, to help priests be better and stronger leaders and shepherds during a time when priests are being spread increasingly thin. Through various exercises, priests are learning simple ways that they can better serve their flock, including learning how to better manage their time. In that regard, they are learning skills that will help them invite and utilize members of their own parish to better serve the local church.
“In ‘Good Leader, Good Shepherd,’ I have an opportunity to discover not only what kind of pastoral leader that I am, but also what kind of people that I am shepherding,” said Father Francis Khoi Nguyen, pastor of Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Ulysses. “This discovery helps me to serve them more effectively according to God’s will, to lead them more confidently in God’s way, and to sanctify their lives more deeply in God’s love.”
The recent module was lead by Barbara Eckert of the Catholic Leadership Institute, and Timothy Walsh, a principal with Financial Synergies Management, Inc., which helps organizations improve results and reach higher levels of performance.
“The priests of Dodge City and Salina are men of virtue,” Eckert said. “They are taking on the challenging work of learning leadership practices and skills with courage and fortitude. It is a pleasure to work with these priests, in part, because they are among the most diligent priests I have encountered through Good Leaders, Good Shepherds over the past two years. At the same time, I appreciate the spirit of good humor and fellowship that prevails. I look forward to seeing each one again. My prayers and admiration are with them.”