Lay parish administrators and leaders : LUSENET : Catholic Pages Forum : One Thread

How much lay leadership and administration do you all have in your parishes? Do you have a pastoral council? Do they make all the decisions? Do you not have a resident priest? Do the priests sit down while lay people distribute communion? Do lay people make parish visitations and take communion to the sick? Do lay people decide what will and will not happen in your liturgies?

-- Anonymous, July 06, 1998


Hi Paul,

Our resdent Pastor runs the parish. We do have a pastoral council to "advise" him. Some of us do meet with him to discuss matters on the side but he makes the decisions. Father would NEVER sit while Communion is being distributed. The only time in the 3 years i've been here was when he was very sick but could not find anyone to offer Sunday Mass in his place so he asked me to distribute Commmunion for him for he could hardly walk or stand. A few of us can take communion to the hospital or shutins but Father would rather do this himself if he can and always visits at least once a month for the Sacraments. As far as Liturgy goes nothing "fancy" The homily is given by the Priest and he is very direct in his teaching and explains the Doctrines of the Church as they come up in the readings. He calls everyone to get out of the world and follow Christ. Some of us keep a copy of the norms handy just in case there is a question about something. but we are now bringing Latin back into parts of the Mass. Our Easter Vigil was full of Ritual even down to the re-lighting of the santuary lamp from the Pascal candle (yes we use a real candle) after Communion to show clearly that The Blessed Sacrament was back in the Tabernacle.

-- Anonymous, July 07, 1998

Well Paul, I can't answer most of your questions. I know we have a lot of lay groups who: - Coordinate decorating of the church (Easter, etc.) - Run the Sunday daycare - Run the Sunday Children's Liturgy of the Mass - Do the music at mass - Do the 1st and 2nd readings - Being acolytes etc. - Clean the church (includes bathrooms!) - Tidy the lawn and parking lot (includes snow shoveling!) - Do handy-man jobs (fix the sound system, etc.)

And I know we have a pastoral council but I can't say from personal experience who makes the decisions. I'd assume it was the priests. There have been times when an unpopular decision came down and our priest took some time at mass to explain it. It certainly sounded like it was his choice based on the Church's teachings.

Of course, our priests are also quite accomodating as well. I mean, I play the piano at church and everyone in the 'Music Ministery' knows that our priests like lively, rousing music to start and to finish. So that's what we do. At the same time, we're teaching our newest priest a different chant because it matches better with the music the congregation is used to and he's willing to learn something new. One of the reasons we like him so much, I guess. He'll listen to what we say and keeps an open mind.

About communion though, we've always had about 6 or 7 lay people distributing communion along with the priest on Sunday morning masses. It still takes about two songs (five minutes?) to get through everyone. So, I think it's reasonable to let lay people help out the priest because if he had to do it alone, it would take about half an hour!

I'd certainly like to hear from others whether or not this truly is justified though. To be fair and complete, I must add that most of our lay people are very dedicated and focused when they hand out communion and when they say "The body of Christ", they really mean it. It's not just rote.

-- Anonymous, July 07, 1998

Response to lay parish administrators and leaders

Paul, In our parish, we have only one priest, and we are soon getting a deacon. While our priest doesn't sit while lay people distribute communion, and he is a member of the liturgical committee, I think for the most part he doesn't do much. I know he is taking a course of classes to learn counselling, but all in all, he is a rather difficult man to talk to, he doesn't seem at home in his own skin and often "forgets" meetings and such. We have no parish "administrator" but we do have a parish counsel, which my hubby heads. Our priest likes to visit folks in the hospital and do the anointing calls, but lay people do most of the "communion to the sick". It's a fairly large parish and very difficult to expect a priest to be able to do everything, I suppose, but I don't know, it still doesn't feel the same to me. Unlike other parishes I've belonged to which had all kinds of different ministries and small communities with various clerics heading it, this pastor doesn't involve himself in much, when he does...well...I'll give you an example...we tried to begin a ministry of consolation to train parishoners to help those dealing with a death in the family as to planning liturgy and music, being a companion through the process, even doing the rosary and readings at the wake and gravesite, as sometimes he simply can't make it. Example, at my own mother's wake, my husband and I had to lead the prayers and the rosary, because there was simply no one else. Pastor seemed to be all for forming this ministry, but told us to hold off until he talked to the local funeral directors. That was two years ago, and we're still waiting, and no, he hasn't spoken to them yet. He never shows up at BoyScout pancake breakfasts or anything like that...again, though, he is alone, so I don't know how much that impacts things. All of the people on our pastoral team are lay. I DO wish we had more priests, or even a nun or two, but this is the situation as it is, and we've already been told by our bishop that our parish will never have more than one priest. It's very sad, I think mostly our pastor is just burned out.

-- Anonymous, July 07, 1998

Lay paris administrators and leaders

In our parish, we are very fortunate to have 3 priests, 3 deacons and several nuns, one of whom ministers to the sick in the hospital. I'm not too versed on the politics of our parish, but I know our priests are very involved. We have lay persons who help with communion during mass due to the large size of our parish. Regarding homebound, all priests and several lay people are involved (including myself). I take first Friday communion to shut ins and the list rotates so the shut in gets a priest like every other time. Our parish also has 24 hour adoration and has had this for three years without a break. It has brought a lot of graces to our parish. (Illinois)

-- Anonymous, July 08, 1998

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