Parish leadership titles, planning language explained - Catholic Courier

Parish leadership titles, planning language explained

The following are definitions of some commonly used pastoral-planning and parish-leadership terms:

Pastoral-planning terms

Cluster: A parish structure in which two or more parishes are served by a single pastor, pastoral administrator or pastoral team, but in which each parish retains its own identity according to both church and civil law. Ministry programs and staffing can be autonomous within each parish or may involve partnerships with other members of the cluster. Typically clusters move toward a more integrated ministry.

Faith community: A generic term for any Catholic community that gathers together for word, worship, community and service — e.g., parishes, campus ministries, migrant ministries.

Parish: A community of the Christian faithful stably constituted whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor under the authority of the diocesan bishop.

Merged parish: Two or more parishes consolidated into a single entity under church and civil law.

Parish with multiple worship and ministry sites: Typically this structure results from the combination of two or more parishes into a single parish. While the physical facilities of the previous parishes can be used as worship and/or ministry sites, there is only one parish and a single faith community.

Planning group: A term used within the Diocese of Rochester to refer to one of the 36 groups of parishes and faith communities organized since the program Pastoral Planning for the New Millennium began in 1997. Members of each planning group work together to develop and implement pastoral plans regarding parish configuration, utilization of priests and collaborative ministries.

Worship site: A term sometimes used to refer to a church and its surrounding property.

Parish-leadership terms

Parochial administrator: A priest appointed by the bishop and accountable to him for the pastoral care of a parish. Because he is not appointed for a designated term as is a pastor, this appointment has less stability than that of a pastor.

Parochial vicar: A priest appointed by the bishop to assist a pastor in the pastoral care of a parish.

Pastoral leader: A generic term for the person who leads a parish — a pastor, parochial administrator or pastoral administrator.

Priest pastor: A priest appointed by the bishop and accountable to him for the pastoral care of a parish. Under canon law only a priest can be designated the “pastor” of a parish.

Permanent deacon: A permanent deacon is trained and ordained for service to the diocese. Deacons are ministers of word, sacrament and charity. They proclaim the Gospel and preach; preside at baptisms, wakes, funerals and Communion services; witness marriages; assist at Mass; and serve as ministers of charity and justice. They also can serve as pastoral administrators.

Pastoral administrator: People who are not priests but are appointed by the bishop to be accountable to him for the pastoral care of a parish in accord with Canon 517.2. Pastoral administrators serve as pastors in every way except that they do not celebrate the sacraments, which are reserved to those who are ordained. If judged qualified, a deacon could be appointed a pastoral administrator and thus could celebrate the sacraments of baptism and matrimony. Qualified women religious as well as qualified lay men and women also can be appointed pastoral administrators. When a parish is led by a pastoral administrator, a priest is appointed by the bishop as sacramental minister to celebrate the sacraments, especially Eucharist. The pastoral administrator is not accountable to the sacramental minister, however, but rather to the bishop through a priest moderator. The sacramental minister, working in collaboration with the pastoral administrator, also is accountable to the bishop.

Priest moderator: The priest appointed by the bishop to fulfill the canonical need for each parish to have a pastor.

Sacramental minister: A priest assigned by the bishop to provide sacramental ministry for a parish that is led by a pastoral administrator. This is most often a part-time assignment given to retired priests or those who are performing full-time jobs within the diocese, either at the Pastoral Center or in a parish. In some cases, a sacramental minister is assigned full time to a parish.

Rinefierd is a diocesan pastoral-planning liaison.

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