SAVANNAH—At many workplaces, religion is as taboo as politics.
But as the 20 professionals who graduated from the first two Catholic Charities Leadership Classes have learned, it doesn’t have to be.
There are ways to incorporate faith and various aspects of Catholic social teaching into a professional life so that as guest speaker Father Pablo Migone remarked, there is a harmony between the two.
According to Catholic Charities Director Sister Pat Brown, SSMN, professionals can reduce conflict, protect the environment, and consider the plight of the poor through their Christian example and use of the “see, judge, act” model, as suggested in the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice’s Vocation of a Business Leader document, which the class employed.
“It’s not necessary to proselytize, that’s not the point,” said Father Pablo Migone, who spoke March 11, the final day of the second leadership class. Other guest speakers over the course of the program’s seven classes included Fathers Mike Smith and Michael Kavanaugh, diocesan communications director Barbara King and former CIA intelligence officer Joseph Mullin. “How do I work differently because I believe in Jesus Christ. There should be a difference. There should be something there—how do I run things day to day, how do I treat my coworkers or those that work for me, how do I treat them differently because I’m a child of God, because I am called to holiness.”
In his talk Father Pablo drew on example of Jesus Christ as well as writings of Saint Josemaría Escrivá.
Escrivá, who founded Opus Dei (Latin for “work of God”) believed in the dignity and sanctity of all work—whether someone rakes leaves for a living or is a CEO.
Like Christ, Father Pablo explained that the eight students in the second leadership class could be “servant leaders” and use the power and authority they had in their respective roles and industries to lift up and empower others rather than taking advantage of them.
Alumnus Ronnie Hall, invited as a panel speaker, told the Southern Cross that his biggest takeaway from participating in the class last year was advice on how to humble himself as a leader.
By humbling yourself, Hall, a parishioner of Saint James Church in Savannah, said, you see situations through the eyes of others and may realize that “Your way may not be the best way...”
As a project manager for the Savannah office of the Choate Construction Company, he explained how crucial processes can be skipped or entire projects endangered when one doesn’t “sit back and listen.”
Alumnus Garrett Sullivan, an insurance agent for New York Life, described how the class helped refresh his perspective on the way he deals with clients. The class reminded him about the importance of getting invested in his clients lives and in their desires, dreams and goals.
“Helping people complete those goals is really self-empowering,” Sullivan, who also discussed the takeaway that he doesn’t have to compartmentalize his faith, said. Sullivan attends Sacred Heart Church in Savannah. “It’s not life, work, home, God: It’s all of that in one. I’m not a different person than I am at work. I’m still the same person and I need to let my beliefs show through me in my work.”
Visit diosav.org/catholic-charities-catholic-leadership to learn more
Jessica L. Marsala is assistant to the Editor of the Southern Cross.