Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology

The Center for Workplace Spirituality (CWS) develops and presents topics focused on both the practical and spiritual aspects of work for church groups, academic institutions and businesses. Our goal is threefold: (1) to help individuals to both realize and sustain a connection between their work and faith lives; (2) to assist parishes to recognize workplace spirituality as ministry; and (3) to help secular institutions, particularly corporate Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s), to realize how recognizing the spirituality inherent in work can positively impact organizations.

A graduate-level course, Theology of Work, developed and taught by Julie V. Burkey, D.Min., Coordinator for CWS is offered through Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. Students discuss the biblical, historical and theological warrants for a Theology of Work within the Roman Catholic Tradition, and in particular, Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Laborem Exercens (On Human Work) which serves as the nucleus of the course.   Spirituality of work in today’s culture and its application to business/business ethics is also explored. Theology of Work as parish ministry and its impact on evangelization are the basis for individual and class projects.

In addition, specific workshops have been developed to offer concrete assistance regarding the best methods for finding work. We also hope to encourage professional careers in church service by helping the laity to discern and respond to such a call. Core workshops developed include:

  •  Finding Work & Managing Your Career in Tough Economic Times – a three-hour program focusing on how to conduct a successful job search, especially in difficult economic times; prayer and reflection are also part of the program.
  •  Ministry Resource Day – a full day workshop for individuals discerning a potential call to lay ministry.  Participants reflect on their particular talents and how they may be utilized in church service.

CWS partners with parishes to foster a better understanding of how our Catholic theology of work can help pastors and pastoral associates to address the everyday needs of the people they serve. Our programs address real-life issues, including career advancement and transition, unemployment and achieving balance in work and life. Past workshops include:

  •  Establishing a Parish Employment Ministry – a three-hour interactive workshop for parish groups wishing to establish an employment ministry.
  •  Evangelizing the Workplace – Presentation and open discussion of pertinent Church documents that address the importance and responsibility of all Christians to evangelize in everyday circumstances.  Participants discuss both the joys and difficulties of sharing their faith at work.

CWS offers thought-provoking presentations for both for-profit and non-profit businesses, as well as ERG’s, on issues of leadership, ethics, and spirituality in the workplace. Some presentation topics include:

  • The Spirituality-Profitability Connection – Can workplace spirituality positively impact the bottom line? We look at some case studies—and find some surprises!
  • Virtue Ethics in the Workplace – Why speak of corporate values, an entirely subjective approach to ethics? Can we make a case for virtue-driven principles? We explore how the concept of virtue ethics is revolutionizing corporate response to the ethics crisis.
  • Finding Common Ground at Work: A Spirituality for Diversity – Establishing points of commonality among people of differing cultures and religious beliefs—a pipedream or a workable goal?

Finally, CWS develops retreats for academic institutions. A day-long retreat on the topic of Virtue Ethics was recently presented at  Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. Senior faculty and administration gathered to reflect on how it is that attention to the virtues on the part of both employees and students can positively influence personal conduct and professionalism.

Contact Us

Institute for Christian Spirituality
(973) 761-9575
Fax (973) 275-2561
theology@shu.edu
Lewis Hall

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