‚ÄåAs the Church’s ministry grows in scope, reach and complexity, each parish faces the challenge of administering its resources effectively and fairly, while at the same time achieving compliance with both civil and canon law.

Increasingly, parishes look to lay professionals trained in administration to ensure that pastoral ministry can take place in such a way that both enhances and safeguards the mission of the church. These parish business managers provide leadership and day-to-day supervision of the financial and temporal affairs of the parish in such a way as to enable the pastor to concentrate as much as possible on the spiritual affairs of the parish.

The Parish Business Administration professional certificate program, presented by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University, offers specialized training for those engaged or aspiring to engage in this pastoral service.

It is designed to provide students with practical knowledge and foundational theories of parish administration, organizational awareness, legal and ethical considerations. The policies of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are given careful exploration throughout the course, and every effort is made to assist students not from Los Angeles to become familiar with the policies of their own diocese.

This program is open to those already employed in parish administration, those seeking a career in parish administration, or those who are looking to expand their knowledge so as to better serve as a volunteer, council member or other leadership role in a parish or similar setting.

For those serving in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, this program is designed to prepare them to fulfill the role of parish business administrator. The policies of the archdiocese are addressed throughout the program, with guest speakers from archdiocesan offices and other institutions helping to facilitate these discussions.

Students will be exposed to the role of the parish business manager, employee benefits and benefits administration, collaborative ministry and building consensus, the role of finance councils and pastoral councils, budget preparation and management, issues in human resource management, compensation theory and salary surveys, pastoral planning, plant maintenance, building projects, fundraising and development, technology, lay ministry and multicultural experience in the Church, Ecclesiology and Canon Law.

Those who successfully complete the program will be able to understand and value:

—The functions of parish business administration, as well as the relationships of business administration to the various ministerial functions and constituencies of a parish

—The role of parish business administration in protecting the church from liabilities in a number of areas, including finances, personnel, contracts, real estate, public relations, internet communications, and others

—The role of the Archdiocesan Catholic Center in the administration of the archdiocese and its parishes

Credit from this program may be applicable to some level of professional certification at the discretion of the certifying diocese. Participants are asked to check with the appropriate diocesan office to confirm that this program qualifies.


The next program begins Sept. 6 and meets two Saturdays a month (September-April) at LMU’s Westchester Campus, 1 LMU Dr., Los Angeles. For information, contact the Center for Religion and Spirituality, (310) 338-2799, http://academics.lmu.edu/extension/programs/pba/requirements/.

Greg Chambers is a retired business executive who has served as business manager at St. Anastasia Church, Westchester. Pat Joyce is business manager at Holy Angels Church, Arcadia, and serves on the Steering Committee for the Los Angeles Business Managers Group. As program facilitators, they may be contacted at [email protected], or [email protected].