THE EDUCATIONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL IMPACT OF PARISH DIRECTORS OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

FRANCIS J MANISCALCO, Fordham University

Abstract

This study was undertaken to examine and compare the perceptions of Roman Catholic pastors, elementary school principals, members of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Boards, and parish directors of religious education with respect to the educational and organizational impact of the role of parish director of religious education (DRE).^ The hypotheses tested were that, relative to the addition of the specialization of parish director of religious education (DRE), those involved in the organizational system of the parish perceived the locus of religious education as moving toward being parish-centered rather than classroom-centered; an expansion of their concept of ministry and of who exercises leadership in the parish; an interest in developing new ministries other than that of DRE; the development of conflict within the parish; and utilization of parish professional staff meetings and Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Board meetings to provide a greater sharing of responsibility among those involved in the organizational system of the Roman Catholic parish.^ An instrument was developed for this study which was titled Questionnaire for Assessing the Educational and Organizational Impact of Parish Coordinators/Directors of Religious Education. A pilot study showed that the reliability coefficient was in the range of .93.^ This instrument was distributed to the pastors, principals, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Board members, and DREs of 89 parishes of one large, suburban Roman Catholic diocese. These parishes potentially fulfilled the criterion of having a full time, qualified parish DRE.^ The study found that the respondents displayed a view of the educational mission of the parish as more parish-centered than classroom-centered; a decentralized concept of ministry and leadership; some interest in developing new ministries other than DRE; and a degree of utilization of parish staff meetings and Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Board meetings which provided some sharing of responsibility for parish leadership. The presence of a DRE was perceived as having some influence on these developments. There was little indication of the development of conflict because of the presence of a DRE.^ Further study is recommended to determine the impact on the organizational system of the addition of other specializations beside DRE; the impact of the role of DRE on the parents and students who are the consumers of the services offered by those directors; and the impact on the volunteer leadership as a previously all-volunteer program develops a full time professional component. ^

Subject Area

Religious education

Recommended Citation

MANISCALCO, FRANCIS J, "THE EDUCATIONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL IMPACT OF PARISH DIRECTORS OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8326180.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8326180

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