PEP Newsletter

Ideas For Your Parish

_______________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                                  June, 2022

A Quiet Revolution

              Without fanfare, a document was released from the Catholic Curia in Rome entitled, “Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel). It takes effect on June 5, 2022, the Feast of Pentecost.  It has the potential of shaking up the Church and the way it operates in the present day.  It is in line with how the Holy Spirit affected Christ’s original disciples in Jerusalem’s Upper Room. 

              An article entitled, “Pope Francis Draws On Vatican II To Radically Change How the Church Is Governed,” by Colleen Dulle appeared in the May, 2022 issue of America magazine (pp. 12-14).  She wrote, quoting the document, “The Curia reform ‘must foresee the involvement of lay men and women . . . in roles of governance and responsibility’ (Sec. 1, Art 10). This means that ‘any member of the faithful may preside over a Department or Body, given their particular competence, power and governance or function.’ (Sec. 2, Art 5).”  Dulle goes on to state, “By making church leadership more cooperative between bishops and lay people, especially laywomen, it may make the Church more attractive to those disillusioned by the Church’s lack of equality.” (p. 13-14).

              The May, 2022 issue of Commonweal also had an article on the same topic.  It was called, “Rome on Mission,” authored by Austen Ivereigh, a biographer of Pope Francis. (pp. 10-12)  He quotes from Praedicate, “The power of governance in the Church does not come from the sacrament of Orders, but from the canonical mission.  .  .  Never has clericalism been dealt such a deadly, final blow.” (p 11)   Ivereigh mentions that when Pope Francis was elected in 2013, “the Curia was a law unto itself, self-referential and haughty, wedging itself between the local Church and the papacy. . .  That has long since changed. . .   Curial officials are keen to hear and learn from them (the bishops) and to assist them. . . It is a shift from confidence in human power to receptivity to the Spirit, away from a command-and-control vertical Church to one where authority is service.”


Local Applications

            Reconstruction of parish structures has been going on for many years in response to the declarations and suggestions of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the urgings of the Holy Spirit.  The oversight groups direct and plan the ministries of worship, formation, outreach, community and administration.  The maintaining of coordinating groups on the local level has been going on for a number of years, although assessing and renewing their effectiveness is an ongoing task.  Taking the cue from the pope’s “Preach the Gospel” decree, these are aspects associated with any parish leadership group:   

  • Coordination: Making sure all ministries and activities in a particular area are functioning well
  • Planning: Looking ahead at what needs to be accomplished and what it would take to get there
  • Communication: Every group and parishioner receiving up-to-date information about its operation
  • Diverse: Its membership reflects the gender, age and cultural backgrounds of the parish
  • Attactive: The group is appealing to parishioners, it has a positive image in the community
  • Listens: Makes an effort to hear ideas and gain insights from others not in the group
  • Open: Has an open stance to new approaches, creative ideas and regular feedback
  • Connecting: It links together all of the groups and activities associated with its area of ministry