Exploring pastoral care within parishes, the new Vatican Document The Parish Conversion of the Pastoral Community is intended as a call to parish communities to evangelise and reform. Here are some interesting points of note:
1. The document notes that “increased mobility” and “the digital culture” has resulted in many Catholics attending a parish other than the one in which they live. (§8)
2. It emphasises that “the current Parish model no longer adequately corresponds to the many expectations of the faithful” (§16).
3. Parishes are reminded that “mere repetitive action that fails to have an impact upon people’s concrete lives remains a sterile attempt at survival”. Instead, parishes should “exude that spiritual dynamic of evangelisation”, otherwise “it runs the risk of becoming self-referential and fossilised, offering experiences that are devoid of evangelical flavour and missionary drive, of interest only to small groups.” (§17)
4. The charisms of priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, and the laity are emphasised, in order to “cooperate in building up the singular body of Christ.” (§28)
5. The mission work of the parish is not just the responsibility of the hierarchy, but “the whole community” (§38), but the parish priest is responsible for “keeping this dynamic alive, so that the baptised realise that they are protagonists of evangelisation.” (§39)
6. The parish priest, the document says, should also “instruct the faithful” so that “each member of the community feels responsible and directly involved in caring for the needs of the Church”. (§40)
This is a must-read for all clergy, religious, and anyone wanting to aid their parish in becoming more mission-focused!