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January 3, 1997     The Message
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January 3, 1997

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1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 ".Bishop's Forum--- Planning for pastoral care It has been a long time since : Diocesan Synod 1993 when the sue o[staffing of our parishes fo :'::: :: the future wa " r ....  ,L .. s formally placed on ae diocesan table. This concern ='' i. se of the shortage Lhe challenge of pro- equal number of priests san needs for the We have not been idle. A task 18 months deanery by k force members ana- and generat- excellent report, complete recommendations. The report provides which each deanery will for staffing parishes in an adequate broad range of pastoral needs. s report has been broadly disseminated the diocese. Regional gatherings were . one as Father Joseph Ziliak, , Orthe Task Force for Future Parish '.' presented the findings and recommenda and I both fielded questions from the In order to provide a frame- Force used the year 2005 as a target the number of priests that would be trends. a diocesan-wide planning effort to pastoral staffing in a systematic By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER way, I approached the Washington Deanery pastoral leadership to be the first deanery to design a plan. The planning process is now under- way. May 1997 is a target date for the Washington Deanery Plan to be completed. It is envisioned that the plan will be initiated and complete- ly in place over a few years. In other words, it is not intended that every aspect of the plan will be implemented immediately since some time will be needed to find the proper personnel to serve. In early 1997 I will ask the East Evansville Deanery to begin its planning with the other deaneries to follow. In the charge to the Task Force for Future Parish Staffing I encouraged recommendations for changes in deanery boundaries if such changes seemed to make good sense. Such recommendations were made. I subsequently proposed the changes to the Diocesan Priests' Council and the Diocesan Pas- toral Council. Both bodies were favorable in their counsel. This week, I am sending notification to the pastoral leadership in our diocese as well as formal- ly promulgating the changes to those deans and pastors of respective deaneries and parishes affect- ed by the changes. The changes are as follows: St. Theresa, Evansville, from the Evansville West to the Evansville East Deanery; * Mary, Help of Christians, Mariah Hill, from the Jasper to the Newburgh Deanery; * St. John Chrysostom, New Boston, from the Jasper to the Newburgh Deanery; St. Joseph, Dale, from the Jasper to the New- burgh Deanery; St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, from the Jasper to the Newburgh Deanery; St. Francis, Poseyville, from the Princeton to the Evansville West Deanery. Over the next year or so, each deanery will pro- vide a plan for providing adequate pastoral staff. The two basic limits that I have imposed on the planning groups are: 1) the deanery must plan to have no more priests than projected in the report of the Task Force for the year 2005; as an example, there are currently eight priests engaged in serving the pastoral needs in the Washington Deanery; only four are projected to be available by the year 2005. The second limit is that the respective planning groups must use the deanery boundary as defined, or in the cases above, redefined. Of course the data from the study will transfer with the parishes cited. Indeed, this is a very serious effort that must involve parish and deanery leadership including parish and deanery leadership. Members of the laity are being called forth to participate in plan- ning for change. With the hard work of planning ahead and with an openness to receive the gifts of the Spirit, I am most confident that the leadership and the outcomes of the hard work will be blessed by God. 'Father, what do you do all day?' ship Oprnent steward- :qUires many ich Servant-lead_ or pas- aator takes an )recess, stew- begins to the pastoral the P COnversion aay pastors a guileless You're not you do all questions as the per- and talents of Pastoral life ad of south- there is a Later" answer descrip_ places, the Law for and a.Ws of the is a careful_ of 1,752 individual "canons" or legal statements. Each canon is num- bered. Depending on the subject matter, some canons are very brief: just one or two sentences; others are several paragraphs long. After the Second Vatican Council the Latin Rite Code was revised. The "new" Code became effective in 1983. In its original form, it was published in Latin. The revised Code has since been meticulously translated into dozens oflangmages includ- ing, of course. English. It has been called one of the most influ- ential publications in the world. Most Catholics will never even see a copy of the Code, yet it touches and governs virtually every aspect of church life. It should, then, be no surprise to learn that the Code contains a pastor's "job description." Canons 519 and 528, which fol- low below, provide a general overview of the official role and responsibilities of a Catholic pastor. Canons 529 and 530, which will be included in the next article in this series, pre- sent some of the specific duties and obligations of a pastor. Together these four Canons pro- vide a fairly clear picture of "What Father does all day" when he's not saying Mass. Canon 519 "The Pastor is the proper shepherd of the parish entrust- ed to him, exercising pastoral care in the community entrust- ed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share; in accord with the norm of law he carries out for his community the duties of teaching, sanctifying and gov- erning, with the cooperation of other presbyters (priests) or dea- cons and the assistance of lay members of the Christian faith- ful." Canon 528 "1) The pastor is obliged to see to it that the word of God in its entirety is announced to those living in the parish; for this rea- son he is to see to it that the lay Christian faithful are instruct- ed in the truths of the faith, especially through the homily which is to be given on Sundays and holy days of obligation and through the catechetical forma- tion which be is to give; he is to foster works by which the spirit of the gospel, including issues involving social justice, is pro- meted: he is to take special care fi)r the Catholic education of children and of young adults; he is to make eveLT effort with the aid of the Christian faithful, to bring the gospel message also to those who have ceased practic- ing their religion or who do not profess the true faith. "2) The pastor is to see to it that the Most Holy Eucharist is the center of the parish assem- bly of the faithful; he is to work to see to it that the Christian faithful are nourished through a devout celebration of the sacraments and especially that they frequently approach the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of penance; he is likewise to endeavor that they are brought to the practice of family prayer as well as to a knowing and active participation in the sacred liturgy, which the pastor must supervise in his parish under the authority of the dioce- san bishop, being vigilant lest any abuses creep in.'Canons 529 and 530 (below) show even more clearly what the Church expects of its pastoral servant- leaders. After you have read these final two canons, we will consider how they, along with the two previously published canons, beautifully complement a parish's stewardship conver- sion efforts. Canon 529 "1) In order to fulfill his office in earnest tle pastor should strive to come to know the faithful who have been entrusted to his care; therefore he is to visit familieS, sharing the cares, worries, and especially the griefs of the faith- ful, strengthening them in the Lord, and correcting them pru- dently if they are wanting in cer- tain areas; with a generous love he is to help the sick, particular- ly those close to death, refreshing them solicitously with the sacra- ments and commending their souls to God; he is to make a spe- cial effort to seek out the poor, the afflicted, the lonel), those exiled from their own land and similar- ly those weighed down with spe- cial difficulties; he is also to labor diligently so that spouses and parents are supported in fulfill- ing their proper duties, and he is to foster growth in the Christian life within the family. "2) The pastor is to acknowl- edge and promote the proper role which the lay members of the Christian faithful have in the Church's mission by fostering their associations for religious purposes; he is to cooperate with his own bishop and with the Presbyterate (other priests) of the diocese in working hard so that the faiththl be concerned for parochial communion and that they realize that they are mem- bers both of the diocese and of the universal church and partic- ipate in and support efforts to promote such communion." Canon 530 "The following functions are especially entrusted to the pas- tor: 1) the administration of bap- tism; 2) the administration of the sacrament of confirmation to those who are in danger of death; . . . 3) the administration of Viaticum and the anointing of the sick.., as well as the imparting of the apostolic blessing; 4} the assistance at marriages and the imparting of the nuptial blessing-, 5) the performing of funerals; 6) the blessing of the baptismal font during the Easter season, the leading of processions outside the solemn blessings outside the church; 7) the more solemn cele- bration of the Eucharist on Sun- -days and holy days ofobligation." Our diocesan vision for a total stewardship parish calls for a parish that is hospitable, prayer- ful and gives good service. The pastoral servant-leader's "job description" found in these four canons contains all of these ele- ments and more. The pastor's three principal duties are to teach, sancti[v and govern along with the other clergy and the "lay members of the Christian faithful" (Canon 519). Canon 528 focuses these three duties on the critical importance of the homi- ly, catechetical formation and Catholic education as well as the pastor's leadership role in deal- ing with social justice issues. Canon 528 also underscores the "prayerful" component of a stew- ardship parish with the Holy Eucharist (Mass) at the center, heavily involving the laity, and including the sacraments and family prayer. Canons 529 and 530 (above) are striking descriptions of the pastor's responsibility to make the parish a place where people can turn in times of need, where they feel welcome and find "belonging  through any number of"associations for religious pur- poses" and receive the strength- ening touch of the sacraments. And now that you know what the Catholic Church officially expects of its pastoral servant- leaders, you should not only have a better understanding of "what Father does all day" hut, more importantly; you can also see how the law of the Church promotes and reinforces your parish's stewardship conversion efforts.