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25 January 2017 Changing the Conversation (170509) Celebrating More Than 50 Years (170509) Conscience-Based Moral Judgments (170509) Dignitaries Humanae (170509) False Views on Jesus' Views on Divorce (170509) Mission and Human Rights (170509) Jesus and the Ordination of Women (170516) 29 May 2017 How much of Church Doctrine do we really believe? (170602) Trump Pulls Out of Paris Agreement (170602) 05 June 2017 Thoughts on Religious Vocations: An Open Letter to Pope Francis (170605) I can't get the institutional church out of my system (170618) 25 June 2017 Just War? Enough Already (170703) What would Teilhard say? Evolve or be annihilated (170710) Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (170719) Religion's Wax Nose (170726) American Civil Religion (170731) A Heresy of the Times (170807) Cardinal Calls for Global Church (170818) The Price of Being a Prophet (170821) The Implosion of the Roman Catholic Church (170902) Reflection on Racism in America (170913) Who am I? Where am I going? (170918) One Priest's Hopes for the Mass Translation (170925) The Edge of the Inside (171002) Selective Christianity (171016) Theology at the Cutting Edge: Healing the Political and Social Divide in America (171016) Resisting Islamophobia Is The Catholic Thing To Do. (171023) It Started With a Letter to the Archbishop (171030) Why Do We Still Tolerate Mass Stipends? (171106) Their Cross to Bear: Catholic Women Told to Forgive (171113) Papal loyalists become dissidents (171120) Echoes of Theocracy (171127) Will Pope Francis Remove the 'Warning'? (171204) Gumbleton on Nuclear Deterrence (171211) The Scandal of the 2011 Missal (171218)
ARCC News 2018 Changing Power Relationships


Why a Parish Constitution/Charter/Plan of Operation/etc.?

Why a Parish Constitution/Charter/Plan of Operation/etc.?


Why a Parish Constitution/Charter/Plan of Operation/etc.?

Why a written document? For the same reason we have written gospels, namely, to put into writing the very nature of the parish, its purpose, the respective responsibilities and authority of the lay and clerical leaders and various parish organizations -- in sum, the way members celebrate and live their Catholic faith in this parish community. Must the parish community be subject to the whim and will of each pastor? Is the priest the parish or are the people, who live their lives and faith there, giving it life and vitality? Priests come and go, but the community remains. The people create the conditions and spirit of the Christian parish community and the priest serves and ministers to them.

Clearly, each parish is different, has its strengths and weakness, its own customs and celebrations and should have its own written document to spell out its mission statement, its own best practices, its particular way of organizing within the guidelines of the Church, as a means of continuity through changing lay and clerical leadership, to be adapted as needed.

Creating such a document takes a great deal of work by a dedicated team-oriented group. The creation of a parish constitution should be explained to and endorsed by the whole parish, and team members should be elected by the parish and include representatives from the parish council, finance committee, other organizations and special groups. The whole parish must be kept informed of the progress being made in the formulation of the constitution. Developing a parish constitution is a worthwhile project, and the process alone can give new life, insights, and perspectives to any parish.

Writing a Bill of Rights is often a good start for a parish constitution project. ARCC can help you do this.

We all have a stake in such projects and if you have already worked on a parish constitution/working paper /charter, please share your wisdom and a copy of your work with us.