CHESTNUT HILL, Mass., July 5 /PRNewswire/ -- To respond to a growing need within the Catholic Church to better manage its business operations, financial resources and personnel, Boston College has announced the creation of the nation's first graduate program in church management, beginning this September. The program will include two options: a master's degree in pastoral ministry with a concentration in church management, and a joint MBA/master's degree in pastoral ministry. Offered as both full and part-time programs, the degrees are geared towards individuals who work in pastoral ministry within a Church setting, as well as those handling the financial or personnel management of a diocese, Catholic hospital system or social service agency. It is estimated that the Catholic Church does approximately $100 billion of business per year in the United States, much of it done by individuals with little formal training in management and financial practices. Boston College President William P. Leahy, SJ, said he hoped these new offerings would benefit individuals involved in the management of church-related institutions throughout the country. "I think recent years have shown there is a need for training in church management, especially in Catholic parishes, schools and dioceses," said Father Leahy. "I am delighted that Boston College's Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry and Carroll School of Management are collaborating on these graduate programs." BC Theology Professor Thomas Groome, who directs the Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry, first conceived of the idea while attending a conference of both business and Catholic Church leaders last year. "It was apparent that the business leaders did not fully understand the language of the Church, and the Church leaders, including the bishops present, did not fully understand the language of business," said Groome. "If we are to move beyond crisis to renewal, then it is essential that we train managers who are competent in both the theology and mission of the Church and in the best practices of management. Boston College, with its strength in both theological education for ministry at the Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry and in management through the Carroll School of Management, is ideally suited to help meet this most urgent need in the Church." Carroll School of Management Dean Andrew Boynton praised the new initiative as a way for Boston College to be of service to the Catholic Church and the wider community. "In addition to developing highly skilled, values-driven leaders, an important aspect of our mission as part of a Jesuit, Catholic university is to be of service to the many communities -- local, national and global -- which sustain us," said Boynton. "To tailor a program of business and financial management education to suit the needs of religious institutions is a natural expression of that mission." The master's degree in pastoral ministry with a concentration in church management will involve the standard master's curriculum in ministry with at least four management courses in the Carroll School of Management and a field placement in a church-management role. It will take two years to complete full time and will also be offered on a part-time basis. The MA/MBA option will be available as a dual degree that can be completed full-time in three years. Intended for laity, priests or religious working in significant roles in Church management, this option will also be offered on a part-time basis. Students in both programs will be required to participate in an integrative colloquium aimed at helping people to integrate the worlds of religious institutions and business. They will also interact with faculty and students in BC's theology department, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics and Church in the 21st Century Center. Applications and information on scholarships and financial aid are available through Boston College. "Given that so many of the current challenges and problems of the Catholic Church can be traced, in part, to poor management of resources and personnel, the need for this type of formal training in ministry and management has never been greater," said Groome. "We look forward to helping the Church to address this crucial need." Additional Contacts: Tom Groome, director of religious education and pastoral ministry, 617-552-8449 Jen Bader, associate director for academic affairs, IREPM, 617-552-8440 Andrew Boynton, dean of the Carroll School of Management, 617-552-4107 Jeffrey Rinquest, associate dean for graduate programs, CSOM, 617-552-0461.
SOURCE Boston College