To The Business Community
These notes are from a presentation by Fr. Max Oliva,S.J.,December
2, 2008. Oliva is a visiting fellow at the Markkula Center for
Applied Ethics and a leader in the field of spirituality and
the workplace. He is the author of five books, the latest of
which will be Beatitudes for the Workplace (Novalis-Toronto).
ORIGIN OF MINISTRY TO BUSINESS WORKERS:
SOME PRESENT DAY PROTESTANT MINISTRIES:
- The Worker-Priest Movement in France. Begun in 1941
by Dominican priest Jacques Loew. He was sent by his religious
congregation to study the condition of the working classes
in the docks of Marseilles. He, and other priests who joined
him, ministered to France's secularized industrial working
class by working alongside them on the docks and in factories.
- The British Industrial Mission was established in
1944 in the city of Sheffield, England. The local Bishop,
concerned that the Church of England had been losing touch
with people in the industrialized cities during the inter-war
years, sent one of his priests into steelworks and other heavy
industries to engage with workers and to enter into discussions
about issues of importance to them.
SOME PRESENT DAY ROMAN CATHOLIC MINISTRIES:
- The British Industrial Mission has changed the focus of its
missionary activities to airports and shopping centers due to
the decrease of heavy industries in the United Kingdom.
- The Inter-Church Trade and Industry Mission is a national,
not for profit organization, based in Australia. This is very
much an employment assistance kind of program. The chaplains,
as of this time, are mostly lay people. They serve to support
the objective of human resource management to mitigate, for example, the stresses and strains experienced at work.
- Industrial and Commercial Ministries (ICM) has its national
office in Harrisonburg, Virginia. This is a training and placement organization
of clergy and laity who serve as volunteer chaplains to people
where they work. They are often hired by a company to be their
'in-house' chaplain. Chaplains emphasize being a 'ministry of
presence'. The kinds of issues these chaplains deal with are
pastoral in nature.
- National Institute of Business and Industrial Chaplains(NIBIC)
is based in
Houston, Texas. They see their ministry as representing "God's
concern for people as they are" providing pastoral counseling
in workplace settings.
- LEGATUS was founded by Thomas Monaghan (Domino Pizza founder).
The purpose of this organization is to "strengthen business
and other professional leaders in the knowledge and application
of their faith in their personal and professional lives."
Members meet monthly to pray and support one another; each gathering
begins with a Mass, followed by a social, dinner, and invited
speaker. Each chapter has a local clergyman for a chaplain.
- The Center for Spirit at Work is based in Kansas City, Missouri.
It provides a forum for people to explore and reflect on the
integration of their faith values
and the workplace. There are a variety of programs for both
men and women to
to assist in dealing with job related issues, e.g. a career
transition support group, team building, a coaches program,
a working women's spirituality group, and so forth. The Center
also provides for occasional spiritual retreat days.
- Breakfast Groups. There are a variety of organizations that
meetings. These may include celebration of Mass as well as having
Such is the case, for example, for "St. Peter Speaks,"
which is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It's purpose is
to "create a community of Catholic leaders in Edmonton
(the capital of Alberta)." Members are drawn from a variety
of occupations, not merely business. "The Catholic Professional
& Business Club" has chapters in various cities. Each
chapter offers a monthly Mass at the beginning of the meeting
and a speaker. The Club's purpose is to "enable Catholic
professional and business men and women to reflect on their
Christian ethical beliefs in their everyday personal and professional
lives." "The Center for Christian Spirituality"
is based at the University of San Diego, a Catholic university).
It offers an eight week business leadership and spirituality
breakfast seminar. Topics include such themes as: spiritual
compass, having a sense of meaning in one's work, servant leadership,
discernment in decision making, and courage - taking the 'high
- Academic Centers. There are university academic centers such
as "The Center for Spirituality and the Workplace",
at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the "Institute
for Spiritual and Organizational Leadership" at Santa Clara
University, Santa Clara, California. Such centers offer opportunities
interchange between academia and men and women in the corporate
spiritual and ethical issues.
- Independent Spiritual Coaches and Entrepreneurs.
"Spirituality at Work" is a ministry of Fr. Max
Oliva, a Jesuit priest, who lives in San Jose, California.
Begun in 2002, while Father Oliva lived in Calgary, Alberta,
Canada, this ministry involves spiritual retreat offerings
of differing durations: a six-day, individually, directed,
retreat that a person makes while continuing to go to work
or that one can make from one's home; weekend offerings, and
single day events. Father Oliva also writes a monthly on-line
newsletter called, "Spirituality and Ethics" which
is available at www.jesuits.ca
Click on News. Then on the newsletter, to access it.
- When Protestant organizations, such as ICM, say they
are ecumenical, they are most often speaking of other Protestant
- Protestant work-chaplains, from my research, are most
frequently involved in employee assistance programs. Words like
'spiritual' or 'spirituality' or 'spiritual values' are infrequently
used in their literature even though there are many Protestant
bible study groups.
- Roman Catholic individuals and groups are focused on
deepen their faith life and their relationship with God as well
as deal with ethical and pastoral issues. This is done in a
variety of ways - by the kind of speakers they invite, by celebrating
Mass together, by offering spiritual retreat opportunities,
and so forth.
- In my experience, business and other professional people are
for a deeper prayer and spiritual life.
- Organizations that sponsor breakfast meetings for professional
people need to have opportunities for follow-up - chances for
deeper sharing, for discussion of ethical and spiritual issues,
for ethical problem solving, etc.
- There are far more Protestant ministers, clergy and lay,
tending to the pastoral needs of workers in the workplace than
there are Roman Catholic ones. More Catholic laity, clergy,
and religious need to be encouraged, and trained, to undertake
this valuable ministry