To understand the nature of pastoral, we refer to Canons 528 and 529 of The Revised Code of Canon Law (1983). Here we see presented the “pastoral responsibilities” of the parish priest. Pastoral Planning is one way in which all the baptized share in this responsibility. For convenience, the responsibilities are listed here in categories:
— ensuring that the word of God is proclaimed in its entirety
— seeing that the faithful are instructed in the truths of the faith by means of the homily on Sundays and Holy Days and by catechetical formation
— having special care for the catholic education of children and young people
— making every effort to bring the gospel message to those who have given up religious practice or who do not profess the true faith
SACRAMENTS AND PRAYER
— taking care that the Eucharist is the center of the parish assembly of the faithful
— striving to ensure that the faithful are nourished by the devout- celebration of the sacraments, in particular the frequent celebration of the blessed Eucharist and Penance
— leading the faithful to prayer including prayer in their families and taking an active part in the sacred liturgy
— directing the liturgy and guarding against abuses
— striving to know the faithful of the parish
— visiting families, sharing in their cares and anxieties and in a special way, their sorrows, comforting them in the Lord
— helping the sick and dying in great charity, especially in administering the sacraments
— diligently seeking out the poor, the suffering, the lonely, those exiled from their homelands, and those burdened with special difficulties
— striving to ensure that spouses and parents are sustained in the fulfillment of their proper duties
— fostering the growth of Christian life in the family
— recognizing and promoting the specific role which the lay members of Christ’s faithful have in the mission of the Church
— fostering works which promote the spirit of the Gospel including its relevance to social justice
— endeavoring to ensure that the faithful are concerned for the community of the parish and that they feel themselves to be members both of the diocese and of the universal Church, and that they take part in and sustain works which promote this community.
Source: Pastoral Planning Manual, Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis, 1988.
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