PHOTO: With the Program of Church Management team in Rome and Fr. Luis Navarro (Center), Rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. You can see the dome of St. Peter's behind us.
There’s no need to tell you what an incredibly challenging year this has been. Everyone has experienced it in their own way. Nevertheless, we launched the Global Institute of Church Management and the Program of Church Management started its third cohort which began just before pandemic. Even now, as Italy begins to shut down again, the cohort continues.
Sensing both the impending shutdown of Europe and the need to work directly with the team in Rome, I took advantage of an exception allowed to US citizens who visit Italy for essential work. I’ve spent the past week here evaluating with our team the curriculum and how to best prepare PCM for its fourth cohort. I return to the US tomorrow.
Preparing for a Post-Covid Church
It has been a strange time to be in Rome. As of Monday, it is not allowed to eat in restaurants after 6 p.m. Students of all levels who use public transportation to get to school are forbidden from attending school. This morning I went to St. Peter’s for an early Mass and while it was wonderful to experience it without crowds, it was nevertheless another reminder of how things have changed.
The team and I met with our masks on and socially distanced. Our work consisted in reviewing the curriculum to confirm that it meet the needs of students and dioceses even more precisely given the current climate, responding to feedback from our students and advisors, and continuing to build a program that will support a stronger Church in the post-Covid world. Yes, the resources for the Church globally will be less…which makes it all the more important that they be stewarded even more carefully.
While in Rome, America published the follow up article to the Twitter thread I shared with you last week on Pope Francis’s comments regarding civil unions. Although the Vatican has not clarified his statement, we can nevertheless use this as a teaching moment to explore how we can encounter those who struggle and suffer, indeed each other, in a more authentic way that never shrinks from the Gospel and always embraced the human person.
Please continue to pray for our students, staff, and faculty. We will work to adapt as the pandemic requires. And we will continue to grow our programs.