New document highlights parish at the service of evangelization
The document does not promulgate new legislation but proposes methods to better apply existing rules
The Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy has released a new document to help guide the reform of parish communities.
Entitled "The pastoral conversion of the Parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church," the document promotes pastoral care based on closeness and cooperation between parishes, Vatican News reported.
The document does not promulgate new legislation but proposes methods to better apply existing rules.
It instructs parishes to promote missionary renewal, pastoral conversion, so that the faithful may rediscover the dynamism and creativity which allows the parish to be always "going forth", aided by the contribution of all the baptized faithful.
The document consists of 11 chapters and can be divided into two parts: the first (chapters 1-6) offers a broad reflection on pastoral conversion, missionary outreach, and the value of the parish in the contemporary context.
The second part (chapters 7-11) dwells on the subdivisions of parish communities, various pastoral roles that make them up, and the ways in which the governing norms are applied.
The document describes the parish as "a house among houses" and highlights the missionary nature of the parish as fundamental for evangelization.
The second part of the document deals with subdivisions within the diocesan territory.
It explains that parishes should follow the key factor of proximity while taking into account the similarities of the population and the characteristics of the territory.
It also dwells on specific procedures relating to the incorporation, merging or division of parishes, and on those relating to the Vicariates Forane.
The document also points to the role of the parish priest as "pastor" of the community, at the service of the parish, and not the other way around.
It also says deacons are collaborators of the bishop and the priests in the mission of evangelization. They are not to be considered as "half-priests and half-laymen", according to the document.
The new document follows the interdicasterial Instruction of 1997, dedicated to the theme "Ecclesia de mysterio: On certain questions regarding the collaboration of the non-ordained faithful in the sacred ministry of the priest", and the Instruction of 2002, published by the Congregation for the Clergy on "The Priest, Pastor, and Guide of the Parish Community".
------------------------------- READ THE DOCUMENT ----------------------------