By Ignatius Plato
It may be safe to say that accounting is not the first area of expertise that comes to mind when one thinks of a Jesuit.
Father Dan Daly, SJ, the treasurer for the Jesuits USA Central and Southern (UCS) Province acknowledges that managing financial matters for the province can seem far removed from usual ministry. However, Fr. Daly sees an inseparable link between the Society’s mission and his work.
Father Daly’s efforts support the community life and apostolic work of the province. As the Jesuits of the UCS Province and their colleagues engage in their ministries, they inevitably must face the practical matters of finance.
“The treasurer’s office works quietly in the background,” says Fr. Daly, who has a Ph.D. in accounting and previously taught at Regis University. “We help our Jesuit communities prepare budgets and financial reports; we assist individual Jesuits with credit cards, tax returns, medical insurance, etc.”
Doing pastoral work in addition to his full-time work as UCS treasurer allows Fr. Daly to bring his spiritual life as a priest and his practical perspective as an accountant together.
“When I celebrate Mass or lead a retreat, however, that’s when the fruits of that work become a reality for me,” he said. “How we approach others through the subtle parts of our ministries – the parts nobody sees – will eventually come to fruition and show people God’s love.”
His ministry brings to life St. Paul’s message about the need of many parts to create one body.
“Many subtle parts come together to accomplish a greater mission of good,” he says. “My favorite thing about my work as treasurer is when I visit communities or apostolates and discuss what they’ve been doing in their ministries,” he says. “We talk about how to save the necessary resources to engage in what is ultimately God’s work. It lets me look at the subtlety that rests within the work of the Society. From big things like province initiatives to personal things like needing a car for effective ministerial work. Every goal in the world today needs realistic financial backing. My ministry involves helping others work through that.”
By helping others in these ways, Fr. Daly engages in the mission of the Society of Jesus while also building upon it. He stands with Jesuits and colleagues, helping them assess, plan for and address their financial needs and, in doing so, bringing together the parts of what make their ministries a reality. He accompanies others in their mission to accompany others.
Father Daly explains that God’s work is accomplished through the help that he and others working in province administration provide.
“There’s a lot of good things that people are doing in the province, and many people are coming together to make those good things happen,” he says. “I like to think of the whole world in the same way. There are people out there who do small things that combine to make a big difference.”
We may never know who these people are, Fr. Daly says. But the effects of their work can still be felt. Whether we notice or not, those people show us God’s love.
“The good that we readily see is not the only good that is being done. For example, you don’t have one Jesuit doing the whole work of the Society – it takes many different ministries and many subtle acts of good to fulfill our mission. It’s like how I see my role as treasurer; it all circles back to making God’s love a visible reality.”
Father Daly has also published the book “Jesus and the Barbecued Fish Breakfast.” His second book is currently in the works.
Think you might be called to life as a Jesuit? Visit BeAJesuits.org to find out more about the Jesuit vocation.