Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Preparing for the future! The Pastoral Administrator

The Pastoral Administrator:
A development in parish ministry
7/1/2013     9:15 AM  

In recent decades, there has been a renewed emphasis grounding Church ministry, both ordained and lay, in the sacrament of baptism. The Church teaches that there is an essential difference between the priesthood of the faithful and the ordained priesthood, and yet, there is a special way in which ordained and laity, including lay ecclesial (Church) ministers, share in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ.

As envisioned by the Second Vatican Council, we trust that the Holy Spirit is leading our diocese toward the more collaborative form of ministry witnessed in the Church’s foundational missionary days. As St. Paul reminds us, “There are different gifts but the same Spirit; there are different ministries but the same Lord … You, then, are the body of Christ.God has set up in the Church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, healers, assistants, administrators.” (1 Cor. 12: 4-5; 27-28).

As noted in the Journey in Faith and Grace, our diocese has experienced, and is projected to continue to experience, a significant decline in the number of priests available to serve as pastors in the parishes of our diocese. In the next five years, according to current policy, 78 priests will be eligible for retirement.

To replace these priests would require 15 or more ordinations per year. In light of this challenge, promotion of priestly vocations remains a priority for this diocese. I am fully committed to that goal. We are also looking to invite more priests from overseas to serve in Western New York.

In light of these considerations, and after consultation with the vicars forane, the Presbyteral Council, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Chancery staff and others, I have decided to formally introduce into our diocese the ministry of the pastoral administrator. In doing so, I appointed a task force to assist in the full implementation of this ministry in some parishes of our diocese.

The role of the pastoral administrator, whether a permanent deacon, religious, or lay person, ensures that the ministries of Word, worship and service are functioning well.

The pastoral administrator is in charge of a parish and is accountable to the diocesan bishop through the priest moderator, and works collaboratively with the priest moderator, the sacramental minister, and parish staff.

As we look to alternative types of staffing for pastoral leadership in our parishes throughout the eight counties of Western New York, may the ministry of the pastoral administrator in our diocese, in close collaboration with our clergy, assure that our parishes can and will continue to be vital communities of faith, ministry and evangelization.

The pastoral administrator is a professional minister, appointed by the diocesan bishop and installed by a vicar forane, to lead and officially administer a parish community without a resident pastor. The primary relationships of the pastoral administrator are to the diocesan bishop through the priest moderator, sacramental minister, staff, pastoral and finance councils and parish community.