LEFT: Jorge Montenegro, Diocesan Chief Financial Officer, announces at the annual Diocesan Business Conference several new innovations in finance ministry planned in the near future for parishes and Catholic schools.

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By Elena Macias

Change is difficult, but we need to trust that it can lead to growth and improvement.

That was how Father Duong Nguyen, S.V.D., explained the theme of the annual Business Conference, “Paradigm Shift,” held April 24 at the Pastoral Center.

“When there is a paradigm shift, we are disrupted,” said Fr. Nguyen, Director of the Diocesan Office of Mission, in his opening keynote talk. “It is required for each one of us to evolve and rethink things because new things are happening in our lives… My strategies for growth and navigating the future are, let it go, let it be and let it grow.”

The theme of the Conference, which is presented by the Diocesan Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), reflected several new innovations and processes that will be implemented in the finance ministries in the coming months and years in the Diocese.

After Fr. Nguyen’s keynote talk it was time for Diocesan CFO Jorge Montenegro to introduce his staff, some of whom are new hires, and to provide information on new processes the office will be implementing in the coming years.

“We are all here to serve you, I have a team to take care of you,” Montenegro said. “They are here to answer the call.”

The new processes include, “Fundriver,” which is a software for endowment accounting that will allow parishes and schools to have their own login to view their reports online at any time. Another new process introduced at the conference was “Lockstep,” which is an online portal where a parish or school can pay diocesan bills that will in the long run reduce the amount of paper used for mailing and issuing checks.

The other presenters at the conference were Diocesan Office of Construction & Real Estate Director David Meier, a spokesperson from SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Amazon Business spokesperson Matthew Pandolfo, Diocesan Office of Human Resources (HR) Director Sinia Regalado, Catholic Mutual’s West Region Manager Paula Petke-McCarty, and Diocesan Grant Writer Cheryl Peterson.
HR Director Regalado also took a moment to introduce her staff, some of whom are also new hires, and announced new procedures coming to their office.

“Everything that pertains to HR, you no longer need to do, HR will do it for you,” Regalado said. “You will always have an HR representative there with you. You no longer have to fill out new hire paperwork, we will do it for you.”

The attendees of the conference, which was a mix of priests, administrators, lay ministry leaders, school principals, business managers and bookkeepers, were visibly impacted when this announcement was made.

“I enjoyed my experience,” said Nathan Arnold, Principal of St. Edward School, Corona. “I think it helps in the overlook of the next school year because it gives a little sense of direction, gives us a little plan of where we’re going.”

Added Jeckie Alcaraz, Parish Accountant at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, Temecula, “it’s great, very informational, the paradigm shifts, there’s a lot of changes going on always all the time. We learned a lot, mainly updates and new technologies to make our work more efficient. So, I’m taking notes and will share it with our parish.”

Elena Macias is the Managing Editor of the Inland Catholic BYTE and El Compás Católico.