2 November 2022

ALLEVIATING ADMINISTRATIVE BURDENS OF RELIGIOUS CONGREGATIONS

Religious Congregations are rethinking the management of their administrative burdens in a way that allows them to focus on their particular charisma and mission

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Provinces, houses and institutes, historic convents and monasteries, oratories, schools and educational centers are closing. Religious Congregations are not retreating but are reducing the number and extent of commitments. They can’t manage it any longer: too few and mostly elderly to continue leading provinces, directing oratories, schools and youth centers, serving as asset managers of their real estate properties. Religious orders and congregations, look inward, count themselves, eye their ID cards, and away goes the decision to close. Shortage of active members no longer permits Religious Congregations to manage their units on their own.

At the origin of these decisions, there aren’t merely economic calculations, but only the concern not to have sufficient human resources capable of giving continuity and breath to their units.

Congregations are called upon to become aware of reality, which should not be a paralyzing factor but rather an opportunity to restart and to rethink the management of their units, their activities and, last but not least, their real estate holdings in a way that allows them to focus on their own charisma and mission.

 

This is where DIKAIOS comes into play

Dikaios is an interdisciplinary firm offering legal and ancillary services to religious congregations and other ecclesiastical entities based mainly in Rome but having world-wide interests. The ambition of Dikaios is to assist religious congregations to realize their mission and charisma while being fully immersed in the civil contexts in which they live and operate.

DIKAIOS has always been engaged in anticipating the various challenges Religious Congregations face in current times, not only from a mere legal and fiscal standpoint of view, but also considering the peculiar nature and scope of religious entities, helping them to maintain their identity and to enable them to focus on their mission and charisma.

Being involved in the day-to-day business of religious congregations, we are fully aware of what efforts have to be put in place to manage houses, provinces along with healthcare activities and “commercial” businesses etc.

That’s why we have recently shifted our assistance more and more to supporting Religious Institutes in finding alternative management solutions in order to alleviate their administrative endeavors.

Our services aim– in a first step – at identifying, together with each Institute itself, the areas in which it struggles in order to – in a second step – create ad hoc packages of centrally managed professional services to the single units as it may be required.

Our experience tells us that the main areas in which Religious Congregations currently face ongoing challenges are (i) real estate management, (ii) management and perpetuation of (smaller) local units and (iii) management of commercial activities.

 

This is how it works

At the beginning, we will sit down at the table together with you to analyze your ongoing projects, the structure and current management of your single units, your different real estate assets and commercial activities. It goes without saying that together we will swiftly identify areas where action or change is required. You might already have a feeling on what is not running smoothly and why things do not perform to your satisfaction, but to express preoccupations and concerns in an open-hearted manner and to discuss them with external professionals such as DIKAIOS, will make things much clearer to you and to your members(!) and constitutes the first step to take a decision – which in turn – is vital for tackling the smaller or larger things which disturb your Congregation in its progress.

In carrying out its mandate, DIKAIOS does not intend to substitute the local superiors or the local consultants of the unit.

Rather, for each project on which Dikaios shall be called upon to assist, it will create an ad hoc committee composed of representatives of the general and local superiors, one or more representatives of the local consultants and a member of the Dikaios team, with the goal of identifying the specific needs and requirements of the unit.

The coordination of local unit projects by the committee set up at the Generalate level, should with time result in some degree of uniformity in the way needs are met and services are managed throughout the Congregation.

Such committee will also supervise the implementation of the strategic plan and to be the permanent interface of the Congregation and its local units with DIKAIOS.

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By rethinking the old way and adopting a new one, applying the above-described alternative methods of centralized management of local units, specific projects and real estate assets, as well as of commercial activities, your entities will certainly benefit by gaining time and disburdening resources necessary for the normal functioning of the consecrated and apostolic life of a Religious Institute, in light of the Institute’s mission and charisma.

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Please do not hesitate to contact us in case you wish to discuss further any of our services.

Your DIKAOS Team

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