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Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Diocese)

St. John Vianney, the Curé D'Ars (patron saint of priests)

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Priests & Vocations Sctn.:

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Diocese / Parish



Diocese / Parish

Also See: Dioceses (Topic Page) | Catholic Churches (Topic Page)

"[T]he parish exists solely for the good of souls." (Second Vatican Council)

"Priests are to be appointed to parish churches by the bishops, to whom they shall answer for the care of souls and for those matters which pertain to the bishop." (First Lateran Council)

"A diocese is a portion of the [Church] which is entrusted to a bishop to be shepherded by him with the cooperation of the presbytery." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 374 §1 Each diocese or other particular Church is to be divided into distinct parts or parishes. §2 To foster pastoral care by means of common action, several neighboring parishes can be joined together in special groups, such as vicariates forane." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 516 §1 Unless the law provides otherwise, a quasi-parish is equivalent to a parish. A quasi-parish is a certain community of Christ's faithful within a particular Church, entrusted to a priest as its proper pastor, but because of special circumstances not yet established as a parish." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 547 The diocesan Bishop freely appoints an assistant priest (parochial vicar); if he has judged it opportune, he will have consulted the parish priest or parish priests of the parishes to which the assistant is appointed, and the Vicar forane, without prejudice to can. 682 §1." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"We add further that each archbishop or bishop, either in person or through his archdeacon or through suitable honest persons, should visit twice or at least once in the year any parish of his in which heretics are said to live." (Fourth Lateran Council)

"Can. 534 §1 When he has taken possession of his parish, the parish priest is bound on each Sunday and holyday of obligation in his diocese to apply the Mass for the people entrusted to him. If he is lawfully impeded from this celebration, he is to have someone else apply the Mass on these days or apply it himself on other days." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 368 Particular Churches, in which and from which the one and only Catholic Church exists, are first of all dioceses, to which, unless it is otherwise evident, are likened a territorial prelature and territorial abbacy, a vicariate apostolic and an apostolic prefecture, and a permanently established apostolic administration." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 431 §1 Neighboring particular Churches are to be grouped into ecclesiastical provinces, with a certain defined territory. The purpose of this grouping is to promote, according to the circumstances of persons and place, a common pastoral action of various neighboring dioceses, and the more closely to foster relations between diocesan Bishops." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1748 The good of souls or the necessity or advantage of the Church may demand that a parish priest be transferred from his own parish, which he governs satisfactorily, to another parish or another office. In these circumstances, the Bishop is to propose the transfer to him in writing and persuade him to consent, for the love of God and of souls." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1751 §1 If, when these things have been done, the parish priest still refuses and the Bishop still believes that a transfer ought to take place, the Bishop is to issue a decree of transfer stating that, when a prescribed time has elapsed, the parish shall be vacant. §2 When this time has elapsed without result, he is to declare the parish vacant." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"In forming a judgment on the suitability of a priest for the administration of any parish the bishop should take into consideration not only his knowledge of doctrine but also his piety, apostolic zeal and other gifts and qualities which are necessary for the proper exercise of the care of souls." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 550 §1 The assistant priest (parochial vicar) is bound to reside in the parish or, if he is appointed for a number of parishes at the same time, in one of them. For a just reason, however, the local Ordinary may permit him to reside elsewhere, especially in a house common to several priests, provided the carrying out of the pastoral duties does not in any way suffer thereby." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"We therefore decree that nobody is to be appointed parish priest unless he is suitable by knowledge, morals and age. Any appointments from now of those younger than twenty-five are to lack all validity. The person appointed is obliged to reside in the parish church of which he has become rector, in order that he may take more diligent care of the flock entrusted to him." (Second Council of Lyons)

"Can. 539 When a parish is vacant, or when the parish priest is prevented from exercising his pastoral office in the parish by reason of imprisonment, exile or banishment, or by reason of incapacity or ill health or some other cause, the diocesan Bishop is as soon as possible to appoint a parochial administrator, that is, a priest who will take the place of the parish priest in accordance with can. 540." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 540 §1 The parochial administrator is bound by the same obligations and has the same rights as a parish priest, unless the diocesan Bishop prescribes otherwise. §2 A parochial administrator may not do anything which could prejudice the rights of the parish priest or could do harm to parochial property. §3 When he has discharged his office, the parochial administrator is to give an account to the parish priest." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 538 §3 A parish priest who has completed his seventy fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from office to the diocesan Bishop who, after considering all the circumstances of person and place, is to decide whether to accept or defer it. Having taken account of the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference, the diocesan Bishop must make provision for the appropriate maintenance and residence of the priest who has retired." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 515 §1 A parish is a certain community of Christ's faithful stably established within a particular Church, whose pastoral care, under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, is entrusted to a parish priest as its proper pastor. §2 The diocesan Bishop alone can establish, suppress or alter parishes. He is not to establish, suppress or notably alter them unless he has consulted the council of priests. §3 A lawfully established parish has juridical personality by virtue of the law itself." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 372 §1 As a rule, a portion of the [Church] which constitutes a diocese or other particular Church is limited to a definite territory so that it includes all the faithful living in the territory. §2 If however, in the judgement of the supreme authority in the Church, after consultation with the Episcopal Conferences concerned, it is thought to be helpful, there may be established in a given territory particular Churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other similar quality." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 521 §1 To be validly appointed a parish priest, one must be in the sacred order of priesthood. §2 He is also to be outstanding in sound doctrine and uprightness of character, endowed with zeal for souls and other virtues, and possessed of those qualities which by universal or particular law are required for the care of the parish in question. §3 In order that one be appointed to the office of parish priest, his suitability must be clearly established, in a manner determined by the diocesan Bishop, even by examination." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The bishop will be unaware of many things and many things will be hidden from him if he does not visit every part of his diocese himself and if he does not look, listen, and examine everywhere for which evils a remedy may be prepared. He should probe the causes of those evils and then take preventive measures lest they come to life again. The condition of human weakness is such that thorn bushes, prickles, and weeds grow gradually in the Lord's field, the cultivation of which is entrusted to the bishop. If the gardener does not return frequently to pluck them out, his seedlings will wither with the passage of time." (Pope Benedict XIV, "Ubi Primum", 1740 A.D.)

"Can. 545 §1 Whenever it is necessary or opportune for the due pastoral care of the parish, one or more parochial vicars (assistant priests) can be associated with the parish priest. As cooperators with the parish priest and sharers in his solicitude, they are to offer service in the pastoral ministry by common counsel and effort with the pastor and under his authority. §2 An assistant priest may be assigned either to assist in exercising the entire pastoral ministry for the whole parish, a determined part of the parish, or a particular group of the faithful within it, or even to help in carrying out a specific ministry in a number of parishes at the same time." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1741 The reasons for which a parish priest can lawfully be removed from his parish are principally: 1° a manner of acting which causes grave harm or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion; 2° ineptitude or permanent illness of mind or body, which makes the parish priest unequal to the task of fulfilling his duties satisfactorily; 3° the loss of the parish priest's good name among upright and responsible minded parishioners, or aversion to him, which appears will not cease in a brief time; 4° grave neglect or violation of parochial duties, which persists after a warning; 5° poor administration of temporal goods with grave harm to the Church, when no other remedy can be found to eliminate this harm." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 530 The functions especially entrusted to the parish priest are as follows: 1° the administration of baptism; 2° the administration of the sacrament of confirmation to those in danger of death, in accordance with can. 883, n. 3; 3° the administration of Viaticum and of the anointing of the sick, without prejudice to can. 1003 §§2 and 3, and the imparting of the apostolic blessing; 4° the assistance at marriages and the nuptial blessing; 5° the conducting of funerals; 6° the blessing of the baptismal font at paschal time, the leading of processions outside the church, and the giving of solemn blessings outside the church; 7° the more solemn Eucharistic celebration on Sundays and holy days of obligation." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 777 In a special way, the parish priest is to ensure, in accordance with the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop, that: 1° an adequate catechesis is given for the celebration of the Sacraments; 2° children are properly prepared for first Confession and first Holy Communion, and for the Sacrament of Confirmation, by means of catechetical formation over an appropriate period of time; 3° children, after they have made their first Holy Communion, are given a richer and deeper catechetical formation; 4° as far as their condition allows, catechetical formation is given to the mentally and physically handicapped; 5° the faith of young people and of adults is strengthened, enlightened and developed by various catechetical methods and initiatives." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Let our parish priests, therefore, while providing of course for the normal needs of the faithful, dedicate the better part of their endeavors and their zeal to winning back the laboring masses to Christ and to His Church. Let them work to infuse the Christian spirit into quarters where it is least at home. The willing response of the masses, and results far exceeding their expectations, will not fail to reward them for their strenuous pioneer labor. This has been and continues to be our experience in Rome and in other capitals, where zealous parish communities are being formed as new churches are built in the suburban districts, and real miracles are being worked in the conversion of people whose hostility to religion has been due solely to the fact that they did not know it." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937 A.D.)

"Can. 548 §1 The obligations and rights of a parochial vicar, besides being defined in the canons of this chapter, diocesan statutes, and the letter of the diocesan bishop, are more specifically determined in the mandate of the pastor. §2 Unless the letter of the diocesan bishop expressly provides otherwise, a parochial vicar is obliged to assist the pastor in the entire parochial ministry by reason of office, with the exception of the application of the Mass for the people. Likewise, if a matter should arise in accordance with the law, he is bound to take the place of the parish priest. §3 A parochial vicar is to report to the pastor regularly concerning proposed and existing pastoral endeavors in such a way that the pastor and the vicar or vicars, through joint efforts, are able to provide for the pastoral care of the parish for which they are together responsible." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 535 §1 In each parish there are to be parochial registers, that is, of baptisms, of marriages and of deaths, and any other registers prescribed by the Episcopal Conference or by the diocesan Bishop. The parish priest is to ensure that entries are accurately made and that the registers are carefully preserved. §2 In the register of baptisms, a note is to be made of Confirmation and of matters pertaining to the canonical status of the faithful by reason of marriage, without prejudice to the provision of can. 1133, and by reason of adoption, the reception of sacred Order, the making of perpetual profession in a religious institute, or a change of rite. These annotations are always to be reproduced on a baptismal certificate. §3 Each parish is to have its own seal. Documents regarding the canonical status of the faithful, and all acts which can have juridical significance, are to be signed by the parish priest or his delegate and secured with the parochial seal. §4 In each parish there is to be an archive, in which the parochial registers are to be kept, together with episcopal letters and other documents which it may be necessary or useful to preserve. On the occasion of visitation or at some other opportune time, the diocesan Bishop or his delegate is to inspect all of these matters. The parish priest is to take care that they do not fall into unauthorized hands. §5 Older parochial registers are also to be carefully safeguarded, in accordance with the provisions of particular law." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: Bishops / Episcopate | Priests / Priesthood [Pg.] | Church Hierarchy | Duties & Responsibilities of Priests | Duties & Responsibilities of the Faithful Towards Priests | Stability of Parish Priest | Church Talk Section | Church Talk (Reflections) | Sacraments Section | Sacraments Section (Reflections) | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition Section | Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition (Reflections) | Vatican View Section | Vatican View (Reflections) | U.S. Dioceses & Archdioceses

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