Filling the priest gap: A study of Roman Catholic lay leadership experiences

by Ziss, Pamela L., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 220 pages; 3359824


The Catholic Church is incorporating nonordained, baptized Catholics into the church in administrative and leadership roles in order to mediate a shortage of ordained priests. These individuals are referred to as Christian lay faithful (D. M. Schnurr, 2001). This activity of diversification requires a spiritual, structural, and emotional change in the traditional church because these laity will be facilitating the Catholic Church’s future and participating in its transformation. This phenomenological study focused on the experiences of lay leaders within the Church and the skills and behaviors they engaged in while leading ministries and fostering involvement from others. Ten face-to-face interviews with current parish pastoral council chairpersons in a Catholic diocese in the United States were conducted. The results indicated that although leaders did not necessarily use a similar or common leadership style such as servant leader, transformational leader, or situational leader, the way in which parishioners became engaged in ministries fell into three categories. Parish pastoral council chairpersons engaged others by (a) directly asking them to be involved, (b) offering assistance through coaching or training, and (c) using encouragement and praise toward those already involved with the hope of increasing involvement.

AdviserLinda J. Terry
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsReligion; Management
Publication Number3359824

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