Priests continue two-year ‘journey’
to become better leaders, shepherds
Several priests from the Diocese of Dodge City joined with priests from the Diocese of Salina for the most recent “Good Leaders Good Shepherds” sessions, held in Great Bend Oct. 20-22.
The two-year program began on March 24. Through a series of classes occurring almost monthly through October 2010 -- some one-day, others requiring overnight stays in Hays or Great Bend – participants are taught how to be a better priests, better shepherds to their flock, and better leaders to their people.
“Our ‘Good Leaders Good Shepherds’ training last week was centered on the ‘One-to-One Context’ of Leadership,” explained Father Rene Labrador. “Leading in the ‘one-to-one context’ means developing the abilities and focusing the energy of the parish staff and key volunteers so they can attain and sustain independent achievement in their particular role.”
Father Labrador said that “as a servant/leader, this particular training helps me understand the necessity of creating/formulating a vision and smart goals for each of our parish staff and key volunteers according to the parish vision and goal. This particular vision/goal would truly help our parish staff and key volunteers to focus their energy and abilities, and be efficient in the performance of their task/role.”
“Good Leaders Good Shepherds” is a nationally utilized program presented by the Catholic Leadership Institute of Pennsylvania.
Father Bernard Felix commented that he enjoys attending GLGS “not only because I learn to focus more in my priestly ministry and to be productive and grow as a person, but likewise I like the coming together of priests, the camaraderie, the sense of humor during discussions, and friendship. Just being with them gives me a sense of encouragement and strength.”
Father Felix also offered a “commendation for our good speakers for their time and dedication. All these through the love and goodness of our Good Shepherd -- Jesus.”
The gatherings are not all lectures and workshops. Yet, even the most seemingly innocuous activity carries with it a lesson. When asked about the recent “Good Leaders Good Shepherds” gathering, Father Jim Dieker replied, “What are the priests doing watching the popular movie from the 1980s, ‘The Karate Kid’ at a professional conference?
“Well, frankly, I was surprised at the good case study it provided for the concepts of focusing and inspiring one-on-one to others. It reminds me of a phrase that a professor from my seminary studies used to justify time in simple reflection of choice -- in addition to books and articles read -- as accredited for our grades: simply ‘time well spent.’”
According to the Catholic Leadership Institute, “Using Jesus Christ as the ultimate shepherd and model of leadership, the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds curriculum for clergy was specifically designed to help Catholic priests overcome the challenges today of a diminishing number of clergy and more complex circumstances for priestly ministry.
“The goal is to minimize the frustration and energy spent on their administrative roles and maximize the joy and time spent on the pastoral duties for which they were uniquely ordained. The impact will be more holy, healthy, and happy shepherds of vibrant parish communities, leading more people to a deeper relationship with Christ.”