Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Gearing Up to be a Pastor


This five-day workshop, typically undertaken during the second year following ordination, builds upon the  The Associate Pastor workshop and starts the preparation for becoming a pastor.

The program addresses the "big picture" issues of being a pastor - credibility, authority, spiritual leadership, healthy lifestyles and the basics of parish administration - and prepares the priest for effective ministry within a variety of settings.

Dates - September 12-16, 2016

Cost - $600 

  • Included: Overnight accommodations, meals from Monday supper through Friday lunch, program curriculum and printed materials, 

  • Not included: Purchases at Jack's Coffee Shop, the UnStable, Scholar Shop or Gift Shop.

The Institute for Priests and Presbyterates is able to offer workshops and programs at a lower cost due to the generosity of many benefactors. The actual cost per participant for the "Gearing Up to be a Pastor" workshop is considerably higher than the amount charged.

Parish Leadership and Administration
Pastoral Planning and Development - Vibrant parishes are built on effective planning, communication and fundraising. This session presents a model for strategic planning that provides the foundation for parish development.

Parish Staffing and Human Resource Issues - No pastor works alone. Whether there is a paid staff or volunteers, all pastors need to address common human resource issues. This session addresses issues related to hiring, performance management and termination of employment.

Parish Finances - Pastors do not need to be accountants. However, challenging financial issues can prevent a parish from being able to fulfill its mission. This session looks at parish finances through the lens of a parish audit and assists pastors in identifying areas that need a closer look.
Quick, Simple, Healthy Cooking for One
More than a presentation, this dinner-preparation session is designed to help the priest gain some strategies for preparing meals that are delicious, healthy and wholly fulfilling. Taking care of ourselves is good stewardship of our bodies and allows us to serve well those entrusted to our care. Integrating his spirituality into the actions of raising, selecting, preparing and eating his food can be a simple yet profound path of union between the God, the priest, and the people he serves.
Being and Becoming a Pastor
Rights and Responsibilities: This session looks at the difference between "being" a pastor by assignment and "becoming" a pastor by developing a relationship with the people of God. Attention is given to canon law and what it says the pastor is to focus on in his ministry.

Credibility and Authority: Servant Leadership - This session is an open dialogue about examples of those who have served as models of servant leadership and how that shapes our vision of how we intend to lead. What does it take to "earn" credibility? How do different people view authority within the Church?

Shared Ministry: Leading, Empowering and Coaching - We discuss what it means to celebrate and honor the role of all the baptized in the Body of Christ by getting them involved in parish ministries while also forming them to know their gifts. To lead is not something everyone is comfortable with and yet expected of the pastor.
Fr Phil Erickson
Spiritual Leadership
Four Truths about Spiritual Leaders and Spiritual Leadership as
an Art - Embracing the four truths of our human nature allows us to more fully practice the "art" of spiritual leadership using our God-given tools.

Moses and David: Two Spiritual Leaders Who Still Teach Us about Spiritual Leadership - A spiritual leader is a prophet and a mystic. So it
is not about loans, lights, locks and leaks.

How does it Work? What does it Take? When does it Happen? - A spiritual leader remembers the truths and becomes an artist who inspires, enchants and transforms by revealing the Divine Presence.
Living a Balanced Life
The stress of increased demands and expectations of Catholic priests, coupled with the shrinking number of clergy, can pull a recently ordained priest into unhealthy habits and practices. This session addresses the priest's need for a healthy self-ministry, realistic expectations, and strategies for keeping balanced physically, mentally and spiritually.
Br _Zachary _Wilberding _2014
Mon., Sept. 12  
2:00-4:00 p.m. Arrival/Check-in
4:30 p.m. Welcome social
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer and Dinner
6:30 p.m. Orientation and opening discussion
Tues., Sept. 13
7:30 a.m. Breakfast 
8:45-11:15 a.m. Program Session - Pastoral Planning and Development
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon  Lunch
2:30-4:00 p.m. Program Session - Parish Staffing, Human Resource Issues, Parish Finances
5:00 p.m. Vespers - Archabbey Church
5:15 p.m. Dinner
Wed., Sept. 14
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:45-10:00 a.m. Program Session - Being and Becoming a Pastor: Rights and Responsibilities
10:15-11:15 Program Session - Credibility and Authority: Servant Leadership
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation available
2:30-4:00 p.m. Program Session - Shared Ministry: Leading, Empowering and Coaching
5:00 p.m. Evening Prayer and Dinner - St. John Vianney Center - Quick, Simple, Healthy Cooking for One
Thurs., Sept. 15
7:30 a.m. Breakfast 
8:45-11:15 a.m. Program Session - Four Truths About Spiritual Leaders and Spiritual Leadership as an Art
11:30 a.m. Mass
Noon Lunch 
2:30-4:00 p.m. Program Session - Moses and David: Two Who Still Teach Us about Spiritual Leadership
5:00 p.m. Vespers - Archabbey Church
5:15 p.m. Dinner
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Program Session - How Does it Work? What Does it Take? When Does it Happen?
Fri., Sept. 16
7:30 a.m. Mass
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:45-11:15 a.m. Program Session - Living a Balanced Life
11:15 a.m. Wrap-up and evaluations
Noon Lunch

Monday, September 12 - Friday, September 16, 2016


Gearing Up to be a Pastor is $600. Included:

  • Four nights' accommodations in St. Bede Hall

  • All meals from Monday supper through Friday lunch

  • All program fees and material costs

Additional overnight accommodations and meals, subject to availability, are in addition to the workshop fee. Call by registration deadline for availability and pricing of additional night(s) accommodations and meals. 

Registration Deadline

August 25, 2016 (call after registration deadline for availability)

Registration is limited to 15 participants.

To Register

Institute for Priests and Presbyterates
Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology
200 Hill Drive
St. Meinrad, IN 47577

Fax: (812) 357-6283 

General comments from Gearing Up to be a Pastor workshop participants

  • This workshop was very good, and I am pleased with the material. I feel as if it was timely for me, and am appreciative of the content that was presented.

  • Everything was useful and helpful - thanks!

On "Being and Becoming a Pastor"

  • The presenter related well with us. I realized that there are more questions than answers about what will happen when I become a pastor, but this was helpful to realize.

  • He was well prepared and took seriously the subject matter. His joy for ministry is obvious.

  • It was good opening session to week. It is important for us to envision becoming a pastor, and not just how to be a pastor by delegation or assignment. He gave and embodied some good practical steps to help us get there.

On "Parish Leadership and Administration"

  • Very good sessions. Helped ease my anxiety about administration things. He showed what is lacking in a lot of parishes I've seen - vision and planning. Without the direction and purpose, it's easy to become bogged down with day-to-day activities just maintaining a parish.

  • The presenter showed an immense amount of expertise. The subject matter, particularly human resources, was/is complex. I appreciated his insistence on taking advantage of the chancery staff.

  • Excellent information and things to consider.

On "The Priestly Art of Spiritual Leadership"

  • This presenter is a very wise priest with lots of practical experience. Enjoyed listening to him talk… could have listened to him longer.

  • An excellent explanation building upon Tuesday's sessions - becoming a pastor after assignment.

  • Well done. He was both challenging and supportive.

On "Living a Balanced Life"

  • Good practical considerations.

  • Could have spent an entire day on this topic. Very important material to cover at this stage of priestly ministry.

On "Quick, Simple, Healthy Cooking for One"

  • Thanks for the recipes, encouragement and suggestions of praying while cooking.

  • I really appreciate his promotion of healthy habits, in particular his cooking presentation.

  • I need to learn how to plan ahead for meals. His tips were very helpful toward that.