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In the Roman Catholic Church, a parish (Latin : parochia) is a stable community of the faithful within a particular church, whose pastoral care has been entrusted to a parish priest (Latin: parochus), under the authority of the diocesan bishop. It is the lowest ecclesiastical subdivision in the Catholic episcopal polity, and the primary constituent unit of a diocese. In the 1983 Code of Canon Law, parishes are constituted under cc. 515–552, entitled "Parishes, Pastors, and Parochial Vicars."
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, and Lutheran churches or denominations, and other churches founded independently from these lineages.
The word diocese is derived from the Greek term dioikesis (διοίκησις) meaning "administration". Today, when used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. Sometimes it is also called bishopric.
Most parishes are territorial parishes, which comprise all the Christian faithful living within a defined geographic area.[ citation needed ] Some parishes may be joined with others in a deanery or vicariate forane and overseen by a vicar forane, also known as a dean or archpriest .
A deanery is an ecclesiastical entity in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, the Evangelical Church in Germany, and the Church of Norway. A deanery is either the jurisdiction or residence of a dean.
The ecclesiastical title of archpriest or archpresbyter belongs to certain priests with supervisory duties over a number of parishes. The term is most often used in Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholic Churches and may be somewhat analogous to a monsignor in the Latin Church, but in the Eastern Churches an archpriest wears an additional vestment and, typically, a pectoral cross, and one becomes an archpriest via a liturgical ceremony.
Per canon 518, a bishop may also erect non-territorial parishes, or personal parishes, within his see.Personal parishes are created to better serve Catholics of a particular rite, language, nationality, or other commonality which make them a distinct community. Such parishes include the following:
An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
National parish is a type of Catholic parish distinguished by liturgical rites or nationality of the congregation; it is found within a diocese or particular Church, which includes other types of parishes in the same geographical area, each parish being unique. A national parish is distinguished from the commonly known type of parish, the territorial parish, which serves a territory subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the territorial parish priest. A national parish is an ecclesiastic subdivision which serves a community of people but is not necessarily a geographic subdivision.
Summorum Pontificum is an apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued in July 2007, which specified the circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church may celebrate Mass according to what he called the "Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962", and administer most of the sacraments in the form used before the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.
The Anglican Use is an officially approved form of liturgy used by former members of the Anglican Communion who joined the Catholic Church while wishing to maintain the treasures of the Anglican tradition.
All the Christian faithful who reside in a territorial parish are considered constitutive of that territorial parish, and all members of a community for which a personal parish has been erected are similarly members of that personal parish. Membership should not be confused with registration or worship, however. Catholics are not obliged to worship only at the parish church to which they belong, but may for convenience or taste attend services at any Catholic church.The term church may refer to the parish – the community that meets together – or to the building. In this article it is used to refer to the building.
Each parish is charged to a parish priest (or pastor in the United States), although pastoral care of one or more parishes can also be entrusted to a team of priests in solidum under the direction of one of them, who is to be answerable to the bishop for their activity.In extraordinary situations, a share in the pastoral care of a parish can also be entrusted to a deacon or lay person under the supervision of a priest. Canon 519 states:
In 1983 the Catholic Church introduced the possibility of entrusting the pastoral care, of one or more parishes to a team of priests in solidum. This provision in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which resembles ancient models of pastoral care in the Roman titular churches with their colleges of priests, was introduced to help resolve some of the difficulties facing many dioceses. These difficulties include shortages of priests, overpopulated urban parishes, depleted and scattered rural parishes, and decline in attendance at Mass. This model of pastoral care is viewed as a practical way of promoting pastoral co-responsibility, as well as fostering a greater sense of the presbyterium among the priests of a diocese.
The parish priest is the proper clergyman in charge of the congregation of the parish entrusted to him. He exercises the pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share, so that for this community he may carry out the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling with the cooperation of other priests or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of Christ's faithful, in accordance with the law.
In American usage, a "parish priest" is any priest assigned to a parish even in a subordinate capacity, and some may be designated as associate pastors or assistant pastors. Globally they may be known as assistant priests,parochial vicars or curates .
In addition to the parish priest and any assistant priests he may have, a parish commonly has a staff of lay people (vestry), religious, and ordained deacons. For example, a parish secretary may assist in administrative matters, a parish sister in activities such as visiting the sick, and a perhaps married permanent deacon in sacramental as well as pastoral or administrative duties.
A parish is obliged to have a finance committeeand, if the bishop considers it opportune, a pastoral council or parish council. The finance committee and pastoral council are only consultative. Often the parish council is elected, to be broadly representative of the parish community, while members of the finance committee are more often appointed by the pastor according to their expertise.
In addition to a parish church, each parish may maintain auxiliary organizations and their facilities such as a rectory, parish hall, parochial school, or convent, frequently located on the same campus or adjacent to the church.
Each parish has a single seat of worship, the parish church. Geography, overcrowding, or other circumstances may induce the parish to establish alternative worship centers, however, which may not have a full-time parish priest.
The parish church is the center of most Catholics' spiritual life, since it is there that they receive the sacraments. On Sundays, and perhaps also daily, Mass is celebrated by a priest resident in the parish. Confession is made available, and perhaps Vespers in the larger or more progressive parishes. There are also laity-led activities and social events in accordance with local culture and circumstances.
Many parishes in different parts of the world operate schools for the children of the parish, though their organization, staffing, and funding varies widely according to local practice. However, many parishes cannot support schools alone, and there may be regional schools run by some parish or by the diocese. In addition to the standard curriculum, students at parochial schools are given moral and religious education in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
A parish has two constitutive elements: a body of Christian faithful and a parish priest (called the pastor in the United States) to serve their spiritual needs. The parish is a "juridic person" under canon law, and thus recognized as a unit with certain rights and responsibilities.It is not autonomous, however. The diocesan bishop has the sole power to erect, suppress, or alter parishes, after consulting with his Presbyteral Council.
Ecclesiae Sanctae , a 1966 Apostolic Letter of Pope Paul VI issued motu proprio , directs that
parishes in which apostolic activity can be performed only with difficulty or less effectively because of the excessive number of the faithful or too vast a territory or for any other reason, be suitably divided or dismembered according to the various circumstances. Likewise parishes which are too small should be united insofar as the situation demands it and circumstances permit.
Where a parish priest has been named to pastor a defined community, but circumstances do not permit it to be formally erected as a parish, the congregation is recognized as a quasi-parish.Quasi-parishes would be found in new mission churches, called "missions" of the mother parish, in new neighborhoods, and in communities too small to support their own priest.
Canon law provides no formal guidelines for choosing a name for a parish or quasi-parish; however, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued guidelines in 1999 that it may commonly be the same as the name of the parish church.In turn, the Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar stipulates that this name must be
If two or more parishes are merged, the church buildings of each parish retain their names, but the parish itself may adopt a different name for pastoral reasons.
Bishops may close parishes through two legal mechanisms under canon law. In a merger, the identity of two or more parishes are abolished, and their former congregants organized into a new parish, and take on its identity. Under suppression, the identity of one parish is abolished, and its former congregants are joined to one or more extant parishes and take on their identity.
Suppression occurs only when the Church believes the entity of the existing parish cannot continue. This includes cases such as bankruptcy, abuse, or deviations from canonical teachings. In effect, however, the community of people that constituted the former parish is merged into one or more remaining parishes after a suppression, because the geographic area must, by canon law, be covered by other parishes. Exceptions are rare, as Dario Castrillón Hoyos of the Congregation for the Clergy explained in a 2006 letter to Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
[O]nly with great difficulty can one say that a parish becomes extinct. A parish is extinguished by the law itself only if no Catholic community any longer exists in its territory, or if no pastoral activity has taken place for a hundred years (can. 120 #1). When a parish is "suppressed" by competent authority, in reality, the still existing community of Christ's faithful is actually "merged" into the neighboring community of Christ's faithful and constitutes a larger community, and the territory of the extinguished parish is added to the other, forming a larger territorial unit.
Parishes are typically suppressed or merged when they become unsustainable due to a decline in the local Catholic population. For example, given the ongoing priest shortage, a bishop may wish to reallocate clergy serving a small parish so that they can help serve a larger one, or a decline in contributions may make upkeep of a large, old parish church economically impossible. The merger or suppression of a parish does not necessarily require that its parish church or other operations be closed, however. The former parish church may be retained as an alternative worship space, for example, or converted for other pastoral use.
Controversy has arisen in the United States over the suppression of parishes, and over the disposition of parochial assets and liabilities following such a change.
Some bishops have interpreted suppression as equivalent to the extinction of a parish under canon 123(as due to war or disaster), in which case the assets and liabilities of the former parish revert to the diocese. In most cases, however, the local Catholic population was stable, and could not be said to be extinct, and so they should have been distributed to the successor parishes, as the Congregation for the Clergy emphasized in 2006 letter to the USCCB.
In other cases, parishioners have objected to the closing of churches, making administrative recourse to the Vatican and staging sit-in protests at churches in Boston, Springfield, and Worcester, Massachusetts; Allentown and Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Syracuse and Buffalo, New York. In 2010 the Supreme Tribunal Apostolic Signatura, the highest court within the Catholic Church, overruled bishops, ruling that the closing of churches in Springfield, Allentown, and Buffalo was unnecessary and thus not permitted under canon 1222.
The number of parishioners varies widely from parish to parish, even within the same diocese, reflecting local demographics and worship practices. The "ideal" size parish is a subject of debate.According to a study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, the average parish in the United States grew in size from 2,260 parishioners in 2000 to 3,277 in 2010
The number of parishes, similarly, varies widely from diocese to diocese. As of December 2012 there were 221,740 parishes, among total 456,503 pastoral centers in the world. Some statistics on the total number of parishes in different countries are maintained by their respective Episcopal Conference, and reported in the Annuario Pontificio :
A parish is a territorial entity in many Christian denominations, constituting a division within a diocese. A parish is under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of a parish priest, who might be assisted by one or more curates, and who operates from a parish church. Historically, a parish often covered the same geographical area as a manor. Its association with the parish church remains paramount.
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope's name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular churches and provides the central organization for the church to advance its objectives.
A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means 'carry before', 'be set above or over' or 'prefer'; hence, a prelate is one set over others.
A pastoral council is a consultative body in dioceses and parishes of the Roman Catholic Church that serves to advise the parish priest or bishop about pastoral issues. The council's main purpose is to investigate, reflect and reach conclusions about pastoral matters to recommend to the parish priest or bishop as appropriate.
Personal prelature is a canonical structure of the Catholic Church which comprises a prelate, clergy and laity who undertake specific pastoral activities. The first personal prelature is Opus Dei. Personal prelatures, similar to dioceses and military ordinariates, are under the governance of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops. These three types of ecclesiastical structures are composed of lay people served by their own secular clergy and prelate. Unlike dioceses which cover territories, personal prelatures—like military ordinariates—take charge of persons as regards some objectives regardless of where they live.
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church consists of its bishops, priests, and deacons. In the ecclesiological sense of the term, "hierarchy" strictly means the "holy ordering" of the Church, the Body of Christ, so to respect the diversity of gifts and ministries necessary for genuine unity.
The Congregation for the Oriental Churches is a dicastery of the Roman Curia, and the curial congregation responsible for contact with the Eastern Catholic Churches for the sake of assisting their development and protecting their rights. It also maintains whole and entire in the one Catholic Church, alongside the liturgical, disciplinary, and spiritual patrimony of the Latin Rite, the heritage and Oriental canon law of the various Eastern Catholic traditions. It has exclusive authority over the following regions: Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, southern Albania and Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Turkey, and also oversees jurisdictions based in Romania, Southern Italy, Hungary, India and Ukraine. It was founded by the Motu Proprio Dei Providentis of Pope Benedict XV as the "Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church" on 1 May 1917 and "considers those matters, whether concerning persons or things, affecting the Catholic Oriental Churches."
A Eucharistic minister, also known as a communion steward, is an individual that assists in the distribution of Holy Communion to the congregation of a Christian church.
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics believe this special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law, also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehensive codification of canonical legislation for the Latin Church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It was promulgated on 25 January 1983 by John Paul II and took legal effect on the First Sunday of Advent 1983. It replaced the 1917 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Benedict XV on 27 May 1917.
Precedence signifies the right to enjoy a prerogative of honor before other persons; for example, to have the most distinguished place in a procession, a ceremony, or an assembly, to have the right to express an opinion, cast a vote, or append a signature before others, to perform the most honorable offices.
A personal ordinariate, sometimes called a "personal ordinariate for former Anglicans" or more informally an "Anglican ordinariate", is a canonical structure within the Catholic Church established in accordance with the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus of 4 November 2009 and its complementary norms. The ordinariates were established in order to enable "groups of Anglicans" to join the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their liturgical and spiritual patrimony. They are juridically equivalent to a diocese, "a particular church in which and from which exists the one and unique Catholic Church", but may be erected in the same territory as other dioceses "by reason of the rite of the faithful or some similar reason".
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
A particular church is an ecclesiastical community of faithful headed by a bishop, as defined by Catholic canon law and ecclesiology. A liturgical rite depends on the particular church the bishop belongs to. Thus "particular church" refers to an institution, and "liturgical rite" to its practices.
David J. Malloy is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who serves as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois.
Episcopal conference of Bulgaria is an ecclesiastical institution, consisting of bishops of the Catholic dioceses in the country. It is birritual because it includes in its composition dioceses in Latin and Byzantine-Slavic rites. Episcopal Conference in Bulgaria is the governing body of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria and performs almost the same features as the Holy Synod in Orthodox churches.
Saint Casimir Church, is a Catholic parish church in Cleveland, Ohio and part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. It is designated "a personal parish for those Catholics of the Latin Rite of Polish descent" in Cleveland. A personal parish is designated under Canon 518 of the Code of Canon Law. It is located at the north-east corner of intersection of East 82nd St. and Sowiniski Ave., in a part of the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood previously known in Polish as na Poznaniu.
Vos estis lux mundi is a motu proprio by Pope Francis, promulgated on 9 May 2019. It establishes new procedural norms to combat sexual abuse and to ensure that bishops and religious superiors are held accountable for their actions. It establishes universal norms, which apply to the whole church. The law is effective for a three-year experimental period, coming into force on 1 June 2019.