The purpose of sharing this process is to provide basic guidance for pastors and involved leadership within a Family of Parishes for approved Pathway parameters to be achieved within a 5-year period.
The administration parameters are listed below. All Family of Parishes are requested to achieve the parameters within 5 years. There are also recommendations which though they aren’t expected are considered best practices and it is highly beneficial for the Families to work on them as well.
#23 – The Parish/school financial ID # cannot be changed unless a new parish is formed, or a parish formally changes its name. (The parish/school federal ID# and the internal Pastoral Center financial ID# can’t be changed. (Unless a new parish is created.))
#25 – Families of Parishes will be fiscally accountable
#28 – Every Family of Parishes must follow relevant civil law and archdiocesan policies for information (record) retention and location. (Each Family must follow Archdiocese policies for information (record) retention and location. (Record Retention Policy))
#29 – Every Family of Parishes must work with the Pastoral Center Department of Human Resources to review staffing models. (Each Family must work with the Pastoral Center HR Department on employment needs and to evaluate potential separations of employment situations.)
#30 – Each school must follow the School Change Process when making structure changes or closure decisions.
All leases must be reviewed annually by the Family of Parishes and be current.
It is recommended that each parish use ParishSoft and Gabriel.
It is recommended that each pastor and his business manager participate in financial training provided by the Archdiocese.
It is recommended that each parish/school have a balanced budget and/or address indebtedness over a planned period.
It is recommended that each pastor and his business manager participate in HR training provided by the Archdiocese.
It is recommended that each parish/school review their existing HR handbook and policies with an eye toward each Family following the suggested and mandatory handbook and policies outlined by the Pastoral Center HR Department.
It is recommended that each parish/school complete a facility assessment annually.
It is recommended that each parish/school understand and work to create a plan to address deferred maintenance and review it on an annual basis.
It is recommended that each parish/school develop and implement a facilities plan
It is recommended that each parish/school review and meet network security best practices.
It should be stated that the stages can be shorter or longer for each specific Family of Parishes given their specific situations and abilities. The stages are simply provided as template to work with and within.
The Code refers at one point to ‘chapels’ and in another place to ‘private chapels.’
It refers to chapels when discussing the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. After stating that the Blessed Sacrament must be reserved in cathedral churches and parish churches, it then states that the Blessed Sacrament may be reserved “in a Bishop’s chapel and, by permission of the local Ordinary, in other churches, oratories and chapels” (Canon 934 §1 2°).
It refers to ‘private chapels,’ however, when giving technical descriptions of a church, an oratory, a private chapel and a shrine:
A sacred building designated for divine worship to which the faithful have the right of entry for the exercise of divine worship.
Such as a parish church building.
A place for divine worship designated by permission of the local ordinary for the benefit of some community or group of the faithful.
Such as the ‘worship space’ specifically for the members of a religious order.
A place for divine worship designated by permission of the local ordinary for the benefit of one or more physical persons.
Such as a room made into a chapel in a rectory for the benefit of the priests there.
Thus the canons speak of ‘chapels’ and ‘private chapels’ but clearly mean the same thing; private chapels are not a sub-set of chapels. Thus by the word ‘chapel’ is understood the ‘private chapel’ as defined in c.1226; the two terms are interchangeable.
Yes. There are a couple of places in the Code where it is foreseen that a parish will have more than one church, that is to say, a sacred building to which the faithful have the right of entry.
For instance, when discussing the baptismal font, the Code states that every parish church must have a baptismal font. However, it also says the local ordinary can permit another font to be placed in another church or another oratory. One can imagine a parish with a large territory where a single font at one church would cause inconvenience for the faithful. Thus a parish is foreseen to have perhaps several churches, but with one designated as the parish church (c.858).
In another place, when discussion where marriages are to take place, the Code states that a marriage in which both of the parties are baptized is to take place in the parish church. However, by permission of the local ordinary or pastor the marriage can be celebrated in another church or oratory within the parish.
The answer is therefore ‘yes,’ however the Code foresees that one church within the parish will be designated as the parish church.
It is not the frequency of celebration of Mass that determines the status of the sacred place, but rather the ‘right of entry’ of the faithful for the purposes of divine worship, and the Mass is not the only form of divine worship. A ‘Liturgy of the Word’ lead by a priest or a deacon, or in their absence a lay person, would also fall under the heading of ‘divine worship.’ Similarly, the recitation of vespers from the Liturgy of the Hours would also be considered ‘divine worship.’ Canon 1214 also includes private worship in its description of those activities for which the faithful have ‘right of entry’ so a reduction in Masses would not seem to justify the sacred place losing the designation as ‘church.’
However, to be considered also is Canon 934 §2, which states that any sacred place where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved is to have Mass at least twice a month, but even this is ‘as far as possible.’
The question for the pastor is what access will there be for this sacred place in which there are to be no regular Masses. If the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, and there is Mass on occasion, and the building is open for the faithful to pray there in some fashion, it seems it can continue to be designated as a church.
If the pastor does not wish to reserve the Blessed Sacrament there, and wants, or needs, to keep the place locked up, and then perhaps to have Mass on a few special occasions, the Code has no category of sacred place to describe such an arrangement. It would also not fit the designation of a ‘private chapel’ and the conclusion can only be that this church can no longer be used for divine worship and should be relegated to ‘profane but not sordid use,’ i.e., by decree of the bishop it ceases to be a sacred place (see Canon 1222 §2). A further question would be the question of alienation.
For the reasons given in #3 above, the answer would be ‘no’. A church without Sunday Mass, provided the faithful have ‘right of entry’ to the building for the purposes of divine worship, remains a church. The designation as church, oratory and private chapel does not depend on the frequency of the sacraments but on who has access to the sacred place. For instance, if by decree of the bishop a church is designated as an oratory those with access to this location would be members of a religious order. The faithful in general, however, would not have right of access. Ordinarily, the sacred place will remain as a church understanding the Code is, as it were, on the side of the lay faithful, in ensuring that they have access to churches for the exercise of divine worship.
Pastors should be reminded that if a church loses Sunday Mass the faithful have to have access to it if it is to remain as a church. There is a preference in the law for the Blessed Sacrament to be reserved there and for Mass to be celebrated twice a month. However, even if this is not possible, it can remain as a church, but the faithful must have ‘right of entry.’