Meeting in Trois-Rivières

I had a meeting today in Trois-Rivières of our inter-diocesan personnel group (called the “Inter-Gestion”). An “inter” is a loose organization set up on a provincial or local level to gather diocesan administrators of different dioceses to see how we can work together. There is an “inter” for the diocesan liturgy people, for example. In our case, the Inter-Gestion is mainly for those people who have a responsibility to care for the pastoral personnel of their respective dioceses.

One of the key elements on the agenda was the question of performance evaluations. How does one evaluate “performance” when the job description basically involves spiritual leadership? But in fact, the general consensus was that we don’t even want to do true performance evaluations. The real goal is to be able to more systematically support our pastoral personnel with things like continuing education and training, so that everyone stays sharp. I personally have a strong interest in this area, and I’m looking at how we can translate corporate tools like SuccessFactors for use in a religious organization setting.

The other main issue we discussed was the question of foreign priests who come to Quebec for various reasons and who wish to do ministry. I updated the group regarding the implementation of a document published in 2001 on the subject. The bottom line: not a lot has been done in the past 6 years, and certainly not on a provincial level. Personally, I can’t wait for everyone else to get excited, given that Montreal welcomes more foreign priests than all the other dioceses combined. So I’m hoping to take the bull by the horns and lead the implementation of some of the recommendations of the document myself.

I must say, though, the best part of the meeting was actually the lunch. We went out to a local restaurant, where the food was so-so but the conversation was a lot of fun. One member of the group, for example, is the vicar general of his diocese, and when we found out he likes scotch we teased him about his future episcopal vocation (there are those who say that scotch is the bishops drink, you see). Really, it was very enjoyable — but it was good to get home, too.