Archives for May 2017

Holy Cross priest named bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee


Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Pope Francis named Holy Cross Father William A. Wack bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla. He succeeds Bishop Gregory Parkes who was appointed Bishop of St. Petersburg in Nov. 2016.

Bishop–elect Wack, 49, a native of South Bend, IN was serving as pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin, TX. He professed final vows in 1993 and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in government and international relations (1989), and a master of divinity (1993), from the University of Notre Dame.

In addition to pastoral assignments, Bishop-elect Wack has held a variety of administrative posts including associate director of vocations, director of Andre House, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Phoenix, AZ, board member of Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, Holy Cross Associates, Holy Cross College, and Catholic Charities, Phoenix, AZ. He was also member of the Presbyteral Council of the Austin diocese.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For Bishop-elect Wack’s remarks, courtesy of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, click here.


Wegmans Among Businesses Putting Catholic Social Teaching to Good Use

(Courtesy of Wegmans)
Supermarket chain is one of a number of companies that are living out Church principles by putting the dignity of the person at the center of their business plans.

Peter Jesserer Smith, National Catholic Register, May 2, 2017

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — “Never think about yourself; always help others.”

The motto of the late Robert “Bob” Wegman, who pioneered the Wegmans Food Markets founded by his father and uncle, hangs up with his portrait in his one-stop supermarkets. But the business philosophy on which the Catholic merchant founded the family-owned company came from the lesson the Sisters of Mercy taught him as a boy in Catholic elementary school: The most important thing in life is getting to heaven.

Today, Wegmans Food Markets, headquartered in Rochester, New York, has 92 stores in six states and is recognized as one of 12 companies in Fortune magazine’s “Great Place to Work Legends.” In fact, Fortune recognized Wegmans in 2017 as the second-best place to work in the U.S. — runner-up only to Google.

The company attributes its success to Robert Wegman’s vision that it is “essential to treat customers and employees right.” Wegmans is among a cadre of privately held companies that have put into practice the Catholic social vision that the dignity of persons, not the pursuit of pure profit, must be at the center of the marketplace.

Sarah Kenton has worked at Wegmans since 2010, when she was 15 years old working part time as a cashier at the Canandaigua, New York, store and, later, as a customer-service representative in the produce section.

“Everyone at Wegmans is a family,” she said. While it may sound “cliché,” Kenton said it “really is true.”

Wegmans later invited her at age 17 to think about a permanent career in the company, providing her an internship that allowed her to experience various store operations under department managers. She has an offer for a full-time position as a team service leader after her graduation from Niagara University in May.

“I consider myself fortunate to have a great employer who supports me,” she said. “Wegmans wants you to do your best and learn … and it really makes them better.”

One of her best memories was working on Wegmans’ Organic Farm, getting firsthand experience on how the stores’ “farm-to-table” process worked. She said helping with the harvest gave her a new appreciation for Wegmans’ produce.

And as an intern, she and her team were asked to propose how Wegmans could improve food product “best by” dating. The company has been concerned about wasted food, especially when some people in the communities they serve are going hungry. Kenton said she and the other interns tackled the problem — and were asked to present their recommendations to Wegmans’ corporate leaders. Kenton said their response was “amazing.”

“They said, ‘Thank you so much. This is great. We’ve really got to do something about this,’” she said. “Since then they really tried to implement the suggestions and make the place an even better version of itself. That spirit of continuous improvement really makes Wegmans successful.”

Wegmans’ Philosophy

Wegmans stores — in the U.S. Northeast — employ 47,000 employees.

“We’re very much a values-based company,” Jo Natale, Wegmans’ vice president for communications, told the Register.

Natale has worked with the company for nearly 30 years and said Wegmans’ business philosophy is “always to take care of our employees, and they’ll take care of our customers.”

“It was a belief the family held as very important,” she said.

Wegmans considers its employees as their “most valuable asset,” Natale explained, so they provide competitive pay and benefits, including health care, dental care, prescription plans and retirement options. They also provide flexible scheduling to their employees, so they can care for their families.

The Wegmans employee scholarship program has awarded $105 million in scholarships to more than 33,000 employees since it started the program in 1984, including $5 million in college-tuition assistance to employees for the 2016-2017 school year.

That kind of investment in employees was a big help to Kenton as she pursued her undergraduate degree and an MBA at Niagara.

But Wegmans also truly regards itself as a member of the community where their stores are located and where their employees and customers live. Besides the Wegmans’ scholarships to help youth achieve higher education, they also work with communities to feed the hungry.

Natale said Wegmans’ success all comes down to their employees. She added that the company does not hire based simply on skills — they can teach people how to do the necessary work — so they look for employees whose “values match” Wegmans, whether they are pharmacists or chefs.

“We really look for people who have a desire to serve others, who smile and are engaging,” she said.

Catholic Social Doctrine

The Catholic Church’s social doctrine rests on four pillars: solidarity, subsidiarity, the dignity of the human person and the care of the common good. William Bowman, dean of The Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business, told the Register that this social teaching is rooted in the natural law.

Wegmans and a number of privately owned companies, he said, are living those principles in their business “day in and day out” without necessarily realizing that they have made Catholic social teaching part of their practices.

Bowman, a graduate of Harvard Business School and an experienced CEO, said a company’s lived commitment to Catholic social doctrine can be seen in how it treats its five stakeholders — the employees, the suppliers, the investors, the customers and the community at large — according to those principles.

Bowman said Wegmans practices “incredible subsidiarity” with employees, by giving them a lot of discretion to exercise responsibility and initiative, even at age 17 and 18, relative to the store’s competitors. He said, “They’re not just trained in best practices, but to think about how to improve what they do.”

Another company exemplifying Catholic social teaching, Bowman said, is Nucor Steel, which became the second-largest U.S. steel company. The company has a strong culture of solidarity linked with subsidiarity, where helping each other do better — like one plant team helping another team become more efficient on the line — means the company does better.

Compensation for the CEO and employees rises or falls together depending on the company’s success. The company has three levels — the CEO, plant manager and plant workers — which enables speedy communication and delegates authority to people to exercise judgment.

“They’re given a lot of latitude to act and do the right thing, and that just stimulates the creativity in people,” Bowman said.

The Wine Group, the second-biggest wine company in the U.S., Bowman added, is another company that exemplifies key principles of Catholic social teaching.

Senior executives are only rewarded with stock bonuses for their work 20 years down the road, and planning for the company is based on a “20-year time horizon,” as opposed to issuing quarterly reports, where research and development often gets cut to bolster quarterly returns, he explained. This has allowed the company to grow at a faster pace than its competitors, increase its stock value in the long term, and reward its employees.

Bowman said, generally, large, publicly held companies have a “much tougher” time implementing the business practices Catholic social doctrine calls for because their boards base their decisions on strict metrics for return on investment.

“That in itself is a minor violation of Catholic social teaching, because the person is the purpose of the business, and not the dollar, and that has to be reflected in how the company operates,” he said.

However, he said Google is one case of a big business whose success has been propelled by a culture of “radical subsidiarity” in which employees are nurtured and given the freedom to dream up new ideas and business ideas.

Reward of Integrity

A company that acts with “integrity” toward its employees, suppliers and customers has a long-term business advantage over those that do not, Frank Hanna III, CEO of Hanna Capital, told the Register.

The companies Hanna has seen act with integrity and follow the virtues that build up the human person, such as Wegmans or Chick-Fil-A, tend to have a wealth that is counted in happier employees and executives as well as happier customers, who patronize them because they enjoy doing business with them.

“That’s a form of wealth and well-being that may or may not show up on the balance sheet,” Hanna said.

That is not to say that a company that does the right thing will always make money over those that don’t. Hanna said that is a “prosperity Gospel” mentality. The true Gospel shows that acting with integrity may get you “crucified” instead.

“But you do the right thing because you have integrity, not because it will make you more profitable,” Hanna said.

In the end, he added, “eternal salvation” is the only victory that a person who acts with integrity should look toward — just as Robert Wegman believed.

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NFPC This Week, #709 – 5/7-5/13/2017

Of Note This Week –

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note: The next NFPC This Week will be published the weekend of June 3. Your editor will be bicycling from Prague to Vienna during the next two weeks.  Not all of the trip will be on a bike. Part will be by van, train, and boat. Please keep the 17 cyclists from all over the US and British Columbia in prayer for a safe trip and good weather.

Alan Szafraniec, Editor

Employment Opportunity

The National Association of Church Personnel Administrators [NACPA] is seeking an experienced Compensation Specialist Consultant to conduct research and analysis in different areas involving compensation, such as compensation statistics and market analysis. Duties include conducting position evaluations, job classifications, preparing job descriptions, assessing the budgetary impact of compensation decisions including compliance with regulations and labor laws as well as determining if salaries are on par with national averages. The Compensation Specialist works with the NACPA Association or association clients to determine staffing needs, designs and adjusts salary structures and compensation packages.

Please send cover letter and current vitae or résumé by May 26 to Regina Haney, Ed.D. at: [email protected]. Web site:

For Position Description in PDF, click here

Council Notes from Sioux City (January 2017)

The January meeting of the Sioux City Council began with an announcement of a triennial Convocation Oct. 16-19, 2017 and a triennial Retreat Oct. 15-18, 2018.

– The Committee for Continuing Formation of Priests is looking for active, engaged members and a new chair.

– In reference to Pastoral Planning, Deans are requested to recruit possible facilitators for parish/cluster planning. The job description was e-mailed. Motions were made, seconded and approved to recommend stipends and mileage rates for facilitator training and parish/cluster unit meetings.

–  There was an extensive report on the survey of retired priests in regard to availability and willingness to serve, including short term, long term and seasonal types of coverage needs. Minutes note most retired priests are willing to serve in some fashion when needed.

– The Special Collections schedule is still awaiting more deanery feedback.

– The issue of Nurse visits to retired priests was tabled pending more deanery feedback.

–  The head of the Priest Personnel Board expressed gratitude of the Board, Bishop Nickless to all priests for the willingness and flexibility encountered for this year’s personnel assignments. Due to preparations for implementing the Ministry 2025 pastoral plan there will not be the usual announcement of openings this year.

–  The Southwest Deanery reported they have no objection to reducing the Rite of Election to a single location in the future.

–  The October Convocation will have a presentation by a team from NOCERCC on Renewing Sunday Worship.

– Minutes note 9 people, including the Bishop will be attending the Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando, July 1-4.

– Teams have been trained in all four Iowa dioceses to present on end-of-life-issues

– “Education Savings Accounts” are being considered. Implementation would probably be incremental, according to minutes.

– Finally, Bishop reiterates the most fundamental reason for pastoral planning is to revitalize parish and ecclesial life. The number of priests and demographic changes are relevant as well.

3 Peoria priests cycle 340 miles for vocations

They called it Priests Pedaling for Prayers. It began on April 24 as Fathers Tom Otto, Michael Pica and Adam Cesarek dipped their tires into the Mississippi River, marking the border between Illinois and Iowa.

According to a Catholic News Service report in the National Catholic Reporter (May 6, 2017), the three young priests were sent forth with the blessing of students from Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy in East Moline, IL. As the priests began their adventure the students from the academy lined the street outside the school to cheer them on.

The report notes at most stops, they received pledge cards from children and adults with promises of prayer, sacrifice and good deeds to support them on the ride and ask God for an increase in vocations.

“What’s been really neat to see is the goodness of the people of our diocese. That’s been, for me, absolutely the most powerful part,” said Cesarek, who is parochial vicar at four faith communities in central Illinois.

“The overwhelming support we had from each and every place we went, the joy that each place had and the excitement that they maintained … really invigorated me and gave me an incredible hope for our diocese,” he said.

“There are so many priests out there who will do anything and everything and they don’t get recognition for it,” Fr. Pica said. In fact, these men prefer to remain behind the scenes.

For the entire NCR report, click here.

US bishops’ conference communications shifting to digital platform

The communications department of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is shifting its main operational format from a traditional print format to a digital model.

The notification was posted in a Catholic News Service article on the National Catholic Reporter (May 8, 2017) website.

The communications department was built when print and newspapers were the dominant force in media. The landscape has been dramatically transitioning in recent years to a digital platform, where information is frequently sought and shared in real time, USCCB chief communications officer James Rogers told Catholic News Service on May 8.

According to the report, planning for the restructuring began in 2014 with the commission of two different studies from independent communications consulting groups.

“A part of the review was to look at the position of Catholic News Service within, for the lack of a better word, the space of the dialogue that takes place,” Rogers said. “Catholic News Service is very well-respected. When we did the survey of clients and customers, we found its position of trust is on par with, or higher than that of any other Catholic news outlet that you could compare CNS to.

The challenge for CNS is that “people tie it to channels and since it was born as a print wire service,” they don’t necessarily associate it with the digital content it produces, such as video, its multimedia offerings, or its social media endeavors in breaking Catholic news, Rogers said.

For the entire report, click here.