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Local Seminarians Get A Taste Of The Real World...Of Business

By KYW's David Madden

(VILLANOVA, PA) -- Some local Catholic seminarians are taking business classes this summer at Villanova. They're becoming a necessity given changes in the church.
Priestly candidates from the Trenton diocese are taking classes next week from long time Economics Professor Charles Zech, who heads up the university's Center for Church Management and Ethics. Others from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will do one day a week for five weeks.

Zech -- Villanova
Credit: Villanova University

Given the low number of men entering the Priesthood these days, many are becoming pastors a lot sooner than they thought.

"We need better management at the parish, diocesan, really all levels," Zech told KYW Newsradio. "And that management should primarily be done by lay people, but we need our clergy to have some familiarity with management techniques."

He says a parish is more than a house of worship, and young priests who take over operations at a far younger age need to be prepared.

"Nobody I know ever went to the seminary because he wanted to run a small business. But that's what a Catholic parish is. It's a small business," Zech said. "And while we don't expect our pastors to be accountants, they have to have some familiarity with some of the financial issues and human resource issues and other issues that they will face as a pastor, so they can carry out their governance function."

In most cases these days, a pastor oversees the work of lay leaders. In fact, Zech's center trains about 10 lay men and women for every seminarian that comes through.

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