PART FOUR FORMATION & CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR PRIESTS
1104.1 General Principles
The Necessity of Ongoing Formation and Education: The preordination formation and education of a priest prepares him for some of the demands placed upon him in his early years of priesthood. It does not, however, fully prepare him for responsibilities he may be asked to assume as additional challenges and opportunities for service are presented.
To keep pace, growth opportunities need to be available for the development of priests to meet the increasing challenges in their respective ministries.
Many short-term opportunities for this development, such as workshops, lectures, etc., are provided internally by the Archdiocese. Also, longer term enriching possibilities are available in universities and educational institutions.
This policy and its implementation procedures is a guide by which Archdiocesan authorities can respond equitably to requests for education assignment arrangements and plan for future staffing needs.
It is also used as a guide for priests in scheduling education assignments.
1104.2 Types of Education Opportunities:
1104.2.1 Annual Leave
A priest is entitled to two weeks each year to participate in continuing education activities. All arrangements concerning time and replacement are to be worked out in conjunction with the parish or office where the priest is assigned.
Costs – The individual priest is responsible for all costs associated with this leave. The costs incurred to participate in annual education assignment activities may be paid from the Professional Expense Allowance available to each priest.
1104.2.2 No-Leave Program
In some instances, priests who work full-time in their officially assigned positions utilize their personal time (evenings, days off, vacation time) to take credit courses in universities.
Costs – The individual priest is responsible for all costs associated with this leave. The costs incurred to participate in the no-leave program may be paid from the Professional Expense Allowance available to each priest.
Shorter Sabbatical – Each priest incardinated in the Archdiocese of Baltimore may take a three month sabbatical every ten years, subject to the approval of the Office of Clergy Personnel.
Priests serving, but not incardinated in this Archdiocese are not eligible for a sabbatical.
Longer Sabbatical – Once during his ministerial career, a priest may apply for a three to six months sabbatical leave to participate in a program approved by the Office of Clergy Personnel who will take into account the needs of the Archdiocese as a whole.
The sabbatical program chosen by the priest should expand his ministry competence. Such sabbaticals may include programs to increase his cultural competence or language skills.
Sharing of Costs for a Sabbatical (Long and Short)
Basic Formula – The Archdiocese, the individual priest, and the ministry site share the costs of the sabbatical program. For priests attending an approved sabbatical programs, the Archdiocese pays 1/3 of the total cost, the parish or place of ministry pays 1/3, and the priests pays 1/3. The priest’s salary and benefits are maintained totally throughout the leave by the ministry site.
Special Ministries – Priests in special ministry assignments will work with the Office of Clergy Personnel to determine the appropriate division of costs with the Basic Formula (above) as a starting point for these discussions.
Between Assignments – If the sabbatical is taken in between priestly assignments, 1/3 would be requested from the parish or place of ministry the priest is LEAVING with the remaining 2/3 paid evenly by the Archdiocese and by the priest himself.
Assignment Coverage – The priest taking the sabbatical will work with the Office of Clergy Personnel to make sure there is sufficient coverage for his ministry while he is away.
Sabbaticals Subject to Needs of the Archdiocese – Opportunities for these leaves are subject to the needs of the Archdiocese, particularly relative to personnel and finances.
Archdiocesan Funding – Effort should be made to increase available funding for continuing education of priests of the Archdiocese, and priests should be encouraged to pursue areas of expertise necessary for the future of the Archdiocese.
1104.2.4 Education Assignment
Education assignment is intended to serve the needs of the Archdiocese and the renewal needs and aspirations of priests. Education assignment is defined as an educational assignment longer than one year.
Educational Assignment– This term refers to an officially approved time period when a priest may be absent from his previously assigned duties or position to participate in full or part-time study conducted by, or under the sponsorship of, the Archdiocese, or at an educational institution. The priest’s ministry assignment is an education assignment.
Limitations – The term is not applicable to educational activity, however beneficial, on an individual’s own initiative and conducted on his off-duty time.
Leave of Absence – It is not applicable to a leave of absence preceding planned resignation from ministry.
Funding – The Office of Clergy Personnel will include in its budget the amounts necessary to cover Archdiocesan costs of approved education assignment of priests. This Office will administer the budgeted funds in accordance with provisions of this policy.
1104.3 Application for Sabbatical and Education Assignment
1104.3.1 Application by Individual Priests
Time for Application – Individual priests applying for a sabbatical and education assignment should submit their proposal to the Office of Clergy Personnel at least one year in advance of the potential leave time-line.
Sabbatical Proposal – The proposal should be as specific as possible, describing the goals and objectives of the leave, a plan for the use of the leave time, a budget of expected expenses, and the expected benefits to the priest and to the Archdiocese.
Education Assignment Proposal -. The costs for tuition, books, room, board, pension, insurance coverage, and salary will be developed by the Director of Clergy Personnel.
1104.3.2 Nomination of Individual Priests
Individual priests may be nominated for education assignment by the Archbishop upon recommendation by a Department Executive Director and the Priestly Life and Ministry Board.
Form of Nomination – Nominations will follow the norms of this policy and the procedures implementing the policy.
1104.3.3 Selection & Approval
Consultation – The Director of Clergy Personnel will discuss these applications with the Priestly Life and Ministry Board.
Process – If a recommendation for disapproval is being considered, the Director of Clergy Personnel will consult with the applicant to evaluate the factors in his situation and report to the Board.
Presentation to the Archbishop – He will send the Board’s recommendations for approval or disapproval to the Archbishop. Reasons for approval or disapproval will accompany the written recommendations to the Archbishop.
Final Decision – The Archbishop shall make the final decision regarding the request for any type of education assignment.
Cost – The Director of Clergy Personnel will make recommendations to the Archbishop regarding these costs.
1104.3.4 Endowment Fund
Contributions Encouraged – All priests are encouraged to consider contributions to this fund as part of their charitable giving and to designate the fund as a recipient of part of their estate in their will. The funds are located in the trust titled: “Endowment Trust for the Continuing Education and Formation of Priests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore”.
1104.4 Reports and Evaluation
Progress Reports Required – An individual priest on approved extended education assignment is required to report in writing, at agreed upon intervals, on the progress of his study and to give his evaluation of how the courses of study are focusing on his goals.
Final Report – Within 30 days of completion of the leave, the priest is required to submit a report covering the purposes of the leave, the studies undertaken, and the value of the education assignment experience in moving toward the attainment of hoped-for benefits or goals. Reports are to be sent to the Director of Clergy Personnel and through him to appropriate Archdiocesan officials.