Last week, 120 employees of the Archdiocese of Denver’s chancery offices gathered at Risen Christ Church for a day-long retreat, launching the first phase of a “Journey to Excellence” formation program.
The training was conducted by the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership, an organization launched in 2004 by scholar and philosopher Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer, and theologian and educator Jim Berlucchi, to help church organizations optimize their culture, confidence, spirituality and faith for the new evangelization.
“This is unique … I do not know if we have ever come together as an archdiocese staff for a full day of retreat,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila said in welcoming the group representing 25 departments and ministries—from finance and communications, to information systems and family life.
“It is a new beginning, it is a gift, it is a time for us to be together to strengthen our relationships with Christ, to strengthen our relationships with one another,” he continued, “and also to strengthen what it means to evangelize.”
The training, slated to continue through 2016, aims to strengthen the culture and performance of the chancery staff. The Spitzer Center has worked with a number of dioceses throughout the United States.
“As we look at this first step,” the archbishop said, “the subject is going to be on happiness and the Church—and the Church is an expert on happiness.”
He was referring to the theme of the day’s materials: “The Four Levels of Happiness.”
“Some of you might say ‘I didn’t know there were four levels of happiness,’’ Archbishop Aquila said. “Throughout the course today we will discover what those four levels are, and hopefully we will see them within our own lives and begin to understand them more clearly.”
The day’s formation included recorded video presentations from Father Spitzer, live commentary from Berlucchi and his team, related film clips to illustrate points, group exercises and discussion, and Mass.
The second step, according to the archbishop, will be for the chancery to “look at our culture as an archdiocese” by each employee completing a confidential survey. The team will review the results together during a second staff day. The third phase, throughout the coming year, will include seminars and leadership training.
“These resources will help us improve our habits, communication and overall effectiveness,” the archbishop said, “to bring about a more unified vision; a more vibrant culture.”
For more about the Spitzer Center, visit www.spitzercenter.org.