THE PASTORAL CONVERSION OF THE PARISH COMMUNITY in the Service of the Evangelising Mission of the Church. This new instruction from the Congregation for the Clergy tackles many of the issues surrounding the renewal or “conversion” of parish and diocesan structures into more missionary entities, including ways of assigning pastoral ministry within the parish, the role of the pastoral council, the provision of the sacraments, and the suppression or merging of parishes.
The impetus for this stems from new situations in which parishes now exist. Cardinal Beniamino Stella (Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy) points out that the church now labours under a scarcity of priests, that territorial boundaries of parishes have changed or “disappeared” altogether, and that increased mobility and digital dependence have redefined our cultural sense of space and time.
The instruction focusses on the reorganization in the way the pastoral care of the faithful is exercised, so as to foster a greater co-responsibility and collaboration among all the baptized.
But real conversion first requires a change in mentality – on the part of clergy and laity alike. Bringing about this necessary pastoral conversion will be a collective challenge for the Church. Yet it is who we are called to be and what we are called to do. The parish of the past will not serve the church of the future. Do take a look at this document as it contains food for thought. It is available to read on the following link: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2020/07/20/200720a.html