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Newly Edited Book Seeks to Foster Servant Leadership among Catholic Leaders in Africa

A poster announcing the launching of the book titled "A Concise Guide to Catholic Church Management, the African Edition.” Credit: Paulines Publications Africa

A newly edited book seeking to foster servant leadership among Catholic leaders in Africa has been launched in Nairobi.

The Tuesday, September 7 virtual event that was also broadcast on Capuchin Television had the editor provide an overview of the book published under the title, “A Concise Guide to Catholic Church Management, the African Edition.”

“We see different types of leadership such as authoritarianism where people want power and to control. Sometimes, we are influenced by that but we have to follow Jesus Christ, the servant who came for us and we share in his mission,” the editor, Fr Lennoxie Lusabe, said of the book originally written by a group of American scholars of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society of St. John’s University in New York.

Credit: Sr. Olga Massango

The member of the Congregation of the Mission (CM) added, “We are trying to redefine ourselves in the Church because we see everyone doing it differently; but we want to be servants.”

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“A leader in a Parish, Parish Priest or anyone else is there to serve and by doing that we are following Jesus Christ, (the) servant leader who came to serve and not to be served,” said the Kenyan-born Cleric who lectures at Tangaza University College (TUC).

Fr. Lusabe underscored the need for Catholic leaders to have basic skills in management saying, “We are encouraging (Church) leaders to have basic training.”

Making reference to members of the Clergy and a section of women and men Religious, the Kenyan Priest said pursuing courses in Philosophy of Theology “is not enough for a leader. It is important to learn how to manage the temporal goods of the Church and to use them well.”

The book encourages members of the Clergy to collaborate with Lay professionals within a Parish context, Fr. Lusabe said.

Published by Paulines Publications Africa, the book is relevant in the COVID-19 context, the CM member said, and explained, “Parishes rely on hand to mouth and Priests had to think of Plan B for survival during COVID-19. The book tells us to think anew; what we can do for sustainability, not just hand to mouth.”

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In a 2-minute video shared with ACI Africa ahead of the September 7 launch, Sr. Olga Massango says, “The book provides an overview of leadership and Church management theory and presents specific management skills to complement already acquired theological knowledge, pastoral abilities, and specialized competencies to all pastoral agents.”

                                        Sr. Olga Massango, member of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP).

The member of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) adds in reference to the newly edited book, “It is offered as one means to assist managers within the Church to fulfil their stewardship responsibilities with competence and accountability.”

Some of the topics addressed in the book that Fr. Lusabe edited in collaboration with TUC’s Centre for Leadership and Management include servant leadership, fundamentals of management, time management, communication, accessing parishioners’ satisfaction, evaluating performance, the human resource, legal principles and pastoral issues, among others.

The guest speaker during the launch, Sr. Agnes Njeri, said the newly edited book is “a good way to empower our Priests in what they do.”

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Sr. Agnes Njeri

“Nowadays people are following leaders not because of what they say but what they do,” the member of Sisters of St. Joseph of Mombasa (SSJ) said, and added, “Things do not work as they used to. You can influence people without talking. That's why we are calling on leaders to be servants.” she said at the September 7 event. 

CredCredit: Sr. Olga Massango

“Now we are in a digital world,” Sr. Njeri who is TUC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic and Student Life (Designate) said, adding, “we need our Dioceses, and Parishes to be run professionally.”

The Book is available at Pauline bookshops in Nairobi at a cost of KES.800.00 (US$8.00). It is also available in soft copy at www.paulinesafrica.org.

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