USML | Programs for Priests

Institute for Ongoing Formation

Programs for Priests

Welcome to Ongoing Formation for Priests!

We have several programs for priests both outside and within the Archdiocese of Chicago. One gem all may be interested in is "Summer Scripture Seminar". A good option for a week long retreat into Scripture. 

Other programs are established within the Archdiocese of Chicago.

For newly appointed Pastor/Administrators, Pastoring I "Spirit & Vision" and the Pastoring II "Essential Workshops".

For experienced Pastors and Administrators, you may be nominated by your Episcopal Vicar to participate in the groundbreaking Advanced Pastoral Leadership.

Contact Us

Rev. Martin Zielinski, Vice President, Institute for Ongoing Formation

            Phone: 847-970-4875 Email: 

 Megan Deichl, Associate Director, Institute for Ongoing Formation

            Phone: 847-837-4558  Email:

Pastoral Leadership I “Spirit & Vision”

Intended Audience

Priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago, who have received their first appointment as Pastor or Administrator, and those who are seriously considering applying to become a pastor.

The Monday evening through Thursday conference is mandatory for first-time pastors/administrators of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  New pastors from other dioceses are welcomed to attend.  This initial level program helps to foster priestly fraternity so that the group can continue to be a resource of support after the sessions.  The purpose of the conference is also to provide newly appointed pastors/administrators with a deeper understanding of the duties and responsibilities they will assume.  Through a series of presentations by experienced pastors, this conference examines the various roles of a pastor.  The pastor needs to have a solid spiritual foundation in daily prayer.  He is both the leader of a faith community and an administrator.  He has specific canonical responsibilities.  The pastor should develop a pastoral plan for the parish.  The new pastor should acquire a sense of the “best practices” for pastoral leadership.  All of these topics are covered in this workshop. For further information please click on “contact us.”

This workshop is held in spring, usually the first week of May at USML.

Contact Us

          Rev. Martin Zielinski, Vice President , Institute for Ongoing Formation

           Phone:  847-970-4875 or  Email:

           Megan Deichl, Associate Director, Institute for Ongoing Formation

           Phone:  847-837-4558 or Email:

Pastoral Leadership II “Four Essential Workshops”

Intended Audience: Any new or experienced Pastor or Administrator:

  • Chicago: 1st time appointees as Pastor/Administrator – Required attendance
  • Joliet: 1st time appointees as Pastor/Administrator – highly recommended
  • Chicago: any other Pastor/Administrator interested in any workshop
  • Other Diocese of the United States – Pastor/Administrators are welcome to attend

The first year pastor/administrator is expected to attend these four workshops: 

Human Resources

This workshop covers the various legal requirements of federal and state law that pastors must know in managing the parish staff. Other “best practices” in the area of Human Resources are covered by key staff people from the Pastoral Center. A panel discussion with representatives from parish staffs offers suggestions and advice for developing a god working relationship between the pastor and parish staff.

            Human Resources is a 2 day, 1 overnight workshop held in August at the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

Finance & Stewardship

This workshop helps the new pastor to understand the process of financial planning and development of a parish budget. The Chief Financial Officer for the Archdiocese of Chicago reviews “best practices to help ensure that in the parish financial operations fiscal responsibility and integrity are maintained. Members of a Parish Finance Council and Business Managers are part of a panel presentation for this workshop. Stewardship will surprise you….

Finance & Stewardship is a 2 day, 1 overnight workshop held in late October or early November at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. 

Religious Education & Catechesis

The Office of Catholic Schools and the Office of Catechesis and Youth Ministry offer “mini” worships during this day-long session. The purpose of this workshop is to help the pastor appreciate his leadership role in being the “catechist of catechists” for the parish. Resources for the parish religious education and catechetical program are reviewed and discussed at this workshop.

This one day workshop is held at the Meyer Center in Chicago.

Liturgy & Sacraments

The Office of Divine Worship provides their wisdom and knowledge in this important area of priestly ministry. The topics of this workshop vary as the pastor group participating in the workshop helps to develop the format of this session. In the past, this workshop has covered topics such as preparing the parish for the reception of the Revised Roman Missal, discussions on church renovation projects, and how to make the parish accessible for those specific physical needs.

This one day workshop is held at the Meyer Center in Chicago.


In addition to many resources, policies and support systems available through the agency leaders, these workshops always incorporate experienced pastors and parish employees with real parish life experience, and time for questions and discussions.  For further information please click on “contact us.”

Contact Us

Rev. Martin Zielinski, Vice President , Institute for Ongoing Formation

            Phone:            847-970-4875      Email: 

            Megan Deichl, Associate Director, Institute for Ongoing Formation

            Phone:             847-837-4558     Email:

Advanced Pastoral Leadership

Intended Audience

By episcopal invitation only for Pastors who have completed at least 5 years of Pastoral Leadership. This is a joint program sponsored by USML and the Kellogg School of Management’s Center for Non-Profit Management at Northwestern University.

This third level of pastor training is an invitation only program restricted to pastors who have served a minimum of five years as pastor and [are] recognized by his episcopal vicar as a very effective pastor. This is a joint program sponsored by the University of St. Mary of the Lake and the Kellogg School of Management’s Center for Non-Profit Management at Northwestern University. This program was offered for the first time in 2010-2011 to a pilot group of thirty-eight pastors and archdiocesan leaders.

Unlike other church management programs which merely translate management studies into church language, the basic logic of the Mundelein/Kellogg program is to build the advanced pastoral leadership studies upon the M.Div. degree work which the priest-pastor has done. In this way, the learning outcomes will organically relate to a priest’s foundational theological training, rather than simply being an add-on.

The program begins with a broad consideration on the identity of the Priest-Pastor (Session I) then moves to a focus on the pastoral role (Session IV) and concludes with a specific focus on the Archdiocese of Chicago and the strategic goals of the local church (Session VII)

The title for the courses of the Kellogg component are: “Vision and Culture”, “Leading and Following” (Session II), “Communications and Building Trust”, “Dealing with New Generations” (Session III), “Team Building”, “Developing People” (Session V), “Finance and Accounting for Pastors”, and “Stewarding Your Resources” (Session VI).

Schedule – link to pdf

Description of Courses

Session I

Pastoral Consciousness 

(Link to the rest of this paragraph here)This module will examine the needs and demands of priestly ministry today in dialogue with the Scriptures in a theological reflection on the consciousness of the priest-pastor.  Beginning with the presence of Jesus in those served by the priest-pastor, the idea of pastoral consciousness is traced through its development in the Pauline corpus and the Pastoral Epistles ending with an elaboration of the relationship between koinonia and diaknoia as a way of discerning the pneumatological dimension of priestly service.

The Eucharistic Identity of the Priest-Pastor

(Link to this paragraph here) At the heart of the identity of the pastor is his priesthood.  Pastor is not a job, it is an expression of the teaching, sanctifying and governing ministry of Christ, shared with his ordained bishop or presbyter.  Taking the notion of communio as the constituent element of pastoral identity, this module will examine the sacramental theology and ecclesiology of the priest-pastor as coworker with the diocesan bishop who himself shares the ministry of Christ.

Session II

Vision and Culture

(Link to this paragraph here) A strong understanding of the motivational psychology of your constituents is the foundation for sharing your vision and developing a strong organizational culture. Using a series lectures, examples and exercises, this session will teach pastors how to share their vision with the stakeholders in their parishes. The session will explore key concepts such as: understanding key stakeholder relationships, considering the communications implications of each aspect of the parishioner’s experience and how to create a strong, service-oriented culture within the parish.

Leading and Following 

(Link to this paragraph here)  Leaders need to understand their dual role as leaders and followers to truly be successful at guiding an organization to success. In this session, pastors will explore the entanglement of being a leader and a follower. Using unique metaphors, the faculty will teach the participants that leading requires moving forward and moving back and the ability to empower others to reach the goal.

Session III

Communications and Building Trust 

(Link to this paragraph here) Building a strong community of trust is essential to success. This session will help pastors understand key communications strategies that will lead to the formation of stronger teams and thus greater success within their parishes. Through lecture and several interactive exercises, pastors will learn how to better communicate with internal and external stakeholders, how to deal with breaches of trust and how to motivate the people within the parish.

Dealing with New Generations 

(Link to this paragraph here) The world is segmenting itself into different generations and each is finding its own identity in their relationships with both for and non-profits. The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y are changing the way we manage and market to boards, employees, clients, et. al. For instance, you never want to tell a Boomer that he is “getting old” and you always want to tell a Yer that she is “an independent thinker with a great mind and she should feel free to express it.” Each generation now wants it his or her own way . . . and as boards, managers, and marketers we need to segment them “appropriately” and in some cases “delicately” or they will take the skills and money to someone who does understand them.

Session IV

The Gifts of God for the People of God

(Link to this paragraph here) This module will explore pneumatology, an often neglected area of our Faith.  In particular, we will explore that action of the Holy Spirit, in the sacraments and the charisms.  The priesthood is entrusted by Christ to be the stewards of the Mysteries and to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit in charisms, including consecrated life and the lay apostolate.  Pastors must discern the gifts given to other priests, deacons, lay ecclesial ministers and the baptized faithful and guide and direct their use to build up the Body of Christ.

Pastoring in the Church of Chicago 

(Link to this paragraph here) As a city with active immigration, the priest-pastor in Chicago is faced with “all nations,” sometimes in the same territorial parish!  This module will examine the various models for ethnic ministry which have been employed in the Church of Chicago at different times in our history.  Insights from inter-cultural relations and religious studies on popular religiosity will be included. 

Session V

Team Building 

(Link to this paragraph here) No leader becomes successful working alone. Managers in today’s world rely on teams to help them achieve their objectives, develop new programs and services, generate solutions and expand their vision. These sessions will help pastors design and implement more effective teams in their parishes. They will examine elements of intra-team behavior such as leadership, communication and conflict resolution and inter-team dynamics such as competition. Specific topics addressed in these session would be: how to lead a team; how to encourage creativity; how to ensure coordination; how to deal with difficult team members; how to improve the teams’ decision-making and performance; and how to get the most out of a team.

Developing People 

(Link to this paragraph here) Parishes today rely on the resources of paid staff and volunteers to support the variety of activities typical of parish life. The pastor is responsible as the leader and manager of these people. This session will help the pastors better understand the critical human resources issues of today’s complex society and help them develop a strong team to support the work of the church. Exercises and lecture will address the issues of managing and leading volunteers, paid staff and key leaders. 

Session VI

Finance and Accounting for Pastors 

(Link to this paragraph here) Many nonprofit leaders have moved into leadership positions because of their commitment to the mission of the organization. Pastor, too, come to be the spiritual leader, not the financial manager of the parish. Often, they have not had significant management or business training in specific skills like financial management. This session will address the key principles of financial management including understanding financial statements and the trends represented by the numbers, predicting the financial implications of managerial decisions, and learning to work more effectively with financial executives.

Stewarding your Resources 

(Link to this paragraph here) As a church, receiving diverse support from a variety of sources, parishes need to be strong stewards of the time, talent and treasure that is shared with the parish. As the leader, the pastor needs to be accountable for those resources. This session will underscore the importance of on-going development of relationships and maintenance of assets in the care of the parish.

Session VII

Father and Governor of the Household of God 

(Link to this paragraph here) Within the Great Tradition there are outstanding examples of pastors, such as Gregory the Great and Benedict of Nursia.  The Christian Faithful require stability of life within which they can grow in knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and in the acquisition of the virtues.  The faithful depend on their priest-pastors as fathers, physicians of their souls and governors of the household of God to lead them in both inner and outer stability.  A parish ministers to the faithful over the generations, and the priest-pastor must contribute to this long-term horizon.  This module examines the parish as a school of virtue and the priest-pastor as the conservator and transmitter of the Faith.

Thinking with the Mind of the Local Church 

(Link to this paragraph here) This module is a capstone to the theological component of the certificate program.  It seeks to articulate the vision of the Archdiocese of Chicago around three critical issues facing the local church: Evangelization, ministerial personnel, racial and ethnic diversity.

Contact Us

Rev. Martin Zielinski, Vice President , Institute for Ongoing Formation

            Phone:            847-970-4875       Email:

            Megan Deichl, Associate Director, Institute for Ongoing Formation

            Phone:            847-837-4558        Email:

Summer Scripture

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