Catholics believe that life is a gift of a loving God. Life is a holy gift for which we are responsible, but do not own. We believe that assisted death and suicide destroy human life and are never allowed. Catholics should not choose their own death as an end or a means. Since there may come a time when one is unable to express their own health care decisions, the bishops in the State of New Jersey have approved Advanced Directives which meet all civil requirements as well as all ecclesiastical concerns.
This form can be downloaded from the New Jersey Catholic Conference website.
Chancery Toolkit 1: The Pastor’s Report
Applying quantifiable measurement techniques to evaluate parish life is complex not just because there are many factors to consider measuring, but because the work of ministry is the salvation of souls. This is not possible to do in human terms. Nevertheless, it is healthy to follow and report on basic trends in parish life:
• to assist in making informed decisions in planning for the spiritual and temporal needs of the parish
• to make parishioners aware of the trends in order to affirm their stewardship or call them to action as needed
• to build the credibility of the parish leadership with the parishioners
Approach to Implementation
This toolkit consists of an Excel spreadsheet to assist in preparing what is called “The Pastor’s Report”. It contains recommended categories to be tracked as well as calculated figures. It is expected that any parish with a computer and Microsoft Office software can prepare the report without Diocesan assistance. The spreadsheet was created using MS Excel 2003.
The categories and formulae on the report are not “locked” to allow for minor categorical modifications and adjustments to the span of time covered by the report.
Almost all of the data for the Pastor’s Report can be found on the Annual Spiritual Report completed and submitted to the Diocese by February 1. Any financial data must be taken from the financial statements of the parish as submitted to the Diocese. It is recommended that this report be inserted in the parish bulletin no later than the second weekend of March. It is also recommended that the pastor report on the state of the parish using this report at each Mass on that same weekend.
Roles and Responsibilities
Each year, the pastor, Pastoral Council, and administrative staff should review the results of the report. They should collectively discern what actions should be taken in response to trends identified. They should advise and assist the pastor in preparing the commentary for the report and the pastor’s comments for the parishioner update. Usually the parish business administrator or bookkeeper will take a key role in completing the report and then submitting it. The pastor shall be the person who addresses the results and trends after hearing from his staff and Pastoral Council. Insertion of the report into the bulletin will be done by the appropriate staff person once it is approved by the pastor.
The Pastoral Planning Office will provide guidance as needed even though it is expected that a parish can implement this without a formal training program.
The Planning Office will train a parish staff member to use the Excel spreadsheet if necessary.
Other than the “labor” to prepare the report, there is no cost to implement unless the parish does not own Microsoft Office and/or a computer with at least the Windows XP operating system.
pastors report format
What Happens in the Chancery? What does a Chancellor do?
We can find the answer to these questions in the Code of Canon Law:
What Deanery Are You In?
Bishop Galante has announced a reorganization of the deaneries. You can find the full article in the Catholic Star Herald, January 19, 2011. This map and list show you what the new structure looks like. There are now only 9 deaneries, and they are configured a bit differently than they were in the past. Later this week, the newly named deans will meet to learn more about the new way deaneries are organized. Parish leaders may want to familiarize themselves with who their deanery neighbors are. So, what deanery are you in?