The Future of Church Property

Monday, November 7, 2022 2:00 pm EST

The Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate’s Church Properties Initiative invites you to join us Monday, November 7, 2022 – Wednesday, November 9, 2022 at the University of Notre Dame for a conference on “The Future of Church Property.”

Why Church Property?

The Catholic Church is the largest social service provider in the world, providing education, humanitarian aid, and healthcare to more people than any other organization on the planet.

In order to live out its charitable missions, the Church is also the largest non-state landowner in the world, operating parishes, schools, universities, hospitals, orphanages, clinics, convents, monasteries, and more on every continent. 

With the sheer numerical size and diversity of the Church’s portfolio in every corner of the world, there is a vast horizon of emerging multidisciplinary scholarly research of the role of these assets in climate change, history, urban planning, engineering, architecture, economics, sociology, finance, and more. 

The Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate is working to marshal the power of academic research, the leading industry best practices, and the creativity of on-the-ground innovators to help the Catholic Church and many other faith traditions as they face challenges in some regions of declining religiosity, increasing costs of aging buildings, and emerging pastoral concerns.

Too often, these challenges mean that real assets can be seen as liabilities instead of the financial, social, and spiritual assets that they can become for faith communities. This conference brings together those who are working to reverse this trend and unlock the power of property to further the mission of the Church.

Conference Agenda

The conference will feature innovative thought leaders, including

  • Academic Researchers, such as Fr. Bob Dowd, C.S.C. (ND Associate Provost); Prof. Bill Evans (ND Economics; co-founder Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities), Fr. Stephen Koeth, C.S.C. (ND History), Dean Stefanos Polyzoides (ND Architecture), and colleagues from DukeGeorgetown, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Villanova
  • Church Leaders, such as Bishop Kevin Rhoades (Fort Wayne-South Bend) and diocesan COOs like Betsy Bohlen (Chicago), Brian Mooney (Detroit), and Keith Parsons (Denver)
  • Industry Experts, from CBREJLLJulius Capital, and others
  • Nonprofit Organizations, such as Catholic Charities USACatholic Leadership InstituteGoodlandsPartners for Sacred PlacesTrinity Church Wall Street and more!

Conference Overview

The conference will have four modules over the 3 days:

  1. Property, Mission, and Identity: Framing this conference within a broader ecumenical movement and rooting real estate within a theological context
  2. A Catholic Way to Build: How do we translate the distinctive tenets of our faith into modern real estate fields like architecture, finance, and law?
  3. A Way to Build Catholics: How do real assets directly support the Church’s mission of living the Gospel?
  4. Practicums/Case Studies: Explore successful case studies and innovative uses of Church property with the experts that made it happen. 

The conference starts with registration at 2pm on Monday, November 7th, and concludes by noon on Wednesday November 9th.

Event recordings will be available on ThinkND in the days following the conference.

For more information, please visit the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate event page.

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