Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dorothy Carlson has been named Minister of Parish Life


“Minister of Parish Life”…new phrase, new idea, new job description? Yes, and no. Priests have been doing it for years, so, it’s not a new concept. We call them “pastors.”
The fact is, however, that there are some dioceses in the United States where some Ministers of Parish Life are lay people, Religious women and men, or permanent deacons.
At their May 1995 meeting, the Council of Priests of the Diocese of San Jose endorsed a proposal from its ministries committee urging Bishop Pierre DuMaine (retired, 1999) to adopt a strategy of assigning a lay person, Religious or permanent deacon to be the central leader in some parishes in the future.

This person would be responsible for the pastoral care of the parish. Assisting priests would be available for the sacramental needs of the parish. This creative approach to providing adequate pastoral ministry was based on several concerns:

The number of priests is dwindling.
Some priests may choose not to become “pastors.”
There are increasing numbers of highly educated, experienced and motivated lay Catholics who view ministry as a profession.
Closing or merging some parishes was a negative option.
“Circuit-rider” priests who would be the central parish leader in two or more parishes was not considered to be a healthy option for priests or parishes.

MPLs also are assigned a mentor pastor and are expected, as are priests, to meet regularly with a spiritual advisor.

In an October 1995 letter to priests, Bishop Emeritus DuMaine said, “My aim in encouraging the Council to pursue this matter does not rest on any impending crisis or clergy shortage.
“It is instead an effort to delineate more closely the optimum use of priests in parochial ministry and to establish a doctrinally and pastorally sound basis for lay leadership that has continued to mature and evolve since the Second Vatican Council and which has developed constructively in the brief history of our own diocese,” he said.

This year Dorothy Carlson has been named Minister of Parish Life at St. Justin Parish in Santa Clara where she has been serving as Pastoral Associate, Business Manager and Director of Liturgy.
She was officially installed in her new position last July 24, by Bishop McGrath at a Mass at St. Justin Church.

Full article at Diocese of San Jose

No comments:

Post a Comment