Parish Staffing and Structures
Introductory context after considering different alternatives, the recommended direction is to conduct a comprehensive, simultaneous study of all of the parishes in the diocese. Using criteria developed by the diocese and resources and insights to be gathered from the experience of other dioceses, each region would be asked to examine the present and future viability of the parishes in their own region. This study would be directed by trained facilitators identified from existing lay and clerical leadership. Each regional council would be asked to develop a plan for the future that would go into effect as clergy numbers, building conditions, finances and demographics change. It should explain how staff and facilities would be utilized and shared for maximum efficiency in each new phase of the plan. It should include a fiscal analysis to demonstrate the capability to sustain recommended buildings and staff.
Recommendations on Parish Structure
1. Immediate moratorium on all new parish building projects.
2. Evaluation of all parish renovation projects, including repairs to existing structures.
1. Establish an Office for Planning with at least a part-time Director for Planning.
2. Hire a person skilled in facilities assessment on a temporary basis (e.g., a consultant).
3. Re-evaluate the composition and overall number of the regions and deaneries to make sure that each configuration matches the actual community relationships and interaction of the geographic area.
4. Develop a comprehensive set of criteria and definitions for use in determining the viability of any parish now and in the future, using resources and insights to be gathered from other dioceses.
5. Design and implement an ongoing education process for clergy and laity about the findings of the planning committee and the final decisions of the Bishop regarding the proposals.
Recommendations on Parish Staffing
1. Consult current diocesan priests as to their plans regarding active ministry and/or retirement, and superiors of all religious communities to determine the number of total assignable priests for the next 10 to 15 years.
2. Determine the projected numbers of permanent deacons available for the next 10 to 15 years.
3. Study issues to include permanent deacons in the administration of a parish(es) in the diocese.
4. Develop job descriptions for all pastors/parochial vicars.
5. Refine job descriptions for all lay ecclesial ministers to maintain and increase their presence.
6. Develop job descriptions for parish staff roles that include criteria regarding the appropriate use of non-paid vs. paid positions and shared paid positions among parishes.
7. Collaborate on a program for ongoing development, training and interaction among all parish ministers.
8. Develop an education and formation program for both clergy and laity around options regarding the reconfiguring of parishes in the future and uses of lay ecclesial ministers, permanent deacons and shared staff.
9. Provide intensive media coverage, public relations and communications.
~ Published as a special supplement in The Catholic Accent, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007.
To obtain a hard copy of the summary report, please contact The Catholic Accent.