Paul Otsuka Yoshinao,
1. To begin withüc
In order to carry out faithfully the mission given by our Lord Jesus Christ to the Church in
In view of this, then, it is becoming necessary to further the implementation of Collaborative Ministry for Mission, bearing in mind the various points made below, to look again at the codes of practice governing the way parishes are run, the way of managing blocks, the role of regional assemblies and the code of practice of the Diocesan Council.
2.ü@ A Church Community which is a Sign of Renewal of Faith and Modern Evangelization
Collaborative Ministry for
The Churchüfs reason for existence and its motivation for evangelization comes from God and the origin of the gospel is to be found in the life of Jesus and the activity of his disciples. Jesus, the Son of God, sent by the Father, offered himself up so that all people might be able to live their lives more and more in response to Godüfs call. His disciples, having in Jesus Christ (the Saviour) that kind of teacher, built a ügcommunity of faithüh and pioneered the mission of handing on the words and signs of Christ which transcends nations, customs, place and time. So, Jesus himself was already missionary and the Church is the community which realizes its reason for existence through its missionary activity. We must examine very carefully, therefore, precisely at this time when Kyoto diocese, in order to promote Collaborative Ministry for Mission, is taking a fresh look at its systems and organization, to see whether or not they are a sign for modern society of the Churchüfs essential mission of evangelization. We will ascertain this from within the framework of the communityüfs faith.
A new way of administering the parish is emerging out of the changed way of appointing priests to work in the parish. The priests themselves continue their search to find new ways of leadership suited to Collaborative Ministry for
It is also beneficial that each parish, whilst bringing out its own special features, is working with the other parishes in the same block to come to a shared understanding of the administration and organization of one anotherüfs parishes. It is greatly to be hoped that, in this way, the reformation of faith will infiltrate the Churchüfs way of doing things, its structure and organization.
3.ü@ Management and structure for a parish engaged in evangelization by Collaborative Ministry for Mission
The purpose of Collaborative Ministry for
If, therefore, the president of the Lay Council or the priest alone is making decisions, that is unacceptable. Representatives of the laity and the priests and, where there are religious, representatives of the religious form a team as the core-group which bears responsibility in the community for promoting Collaborative Ministry for Mission.
4.ü@ The Necessity of Working towards a Common Form for Parish Codes of Practice
By contrast with the system of
independent parishes which has prevailed until now Collaborative Ministry for
Furthermore, it has become necessary to coordinate parish level decision-making and the block level decision making.
5.ü@ A Common System of Working in Blocks
Then there is another matter: it has become necessary for there to be
common guidelines for managing the Collaborative Ministry for Mission Block.
This is particularly desirable where formal decision-making in the block is
From 2003, for example, we established Block Accounts and it is now necessary that there be a forum for discussing the estimated budget and final version of these accounts. For this to take place we need a set of rules governing the block which is recognized by all its constituent parishes. It is vital that there be common guidelines for this rather than each block making its own separate set of rules. Concerning this I published ügCollaborative Ministry for Mission Block Management Guidelinesüh on
6.ü@ The meaning of changing from ügLay Organizationüh to ügParish Councilüh
ç@ The Problem of there being a ügLay Organizationüh.
The diocese, a part of the Community People of God we call a üg
From the point of view of the Parish as an entity, even if we allow that the ügLay organizationüh really connotes the parish community, the term carries with it the suggestion that its membership is limited to lay people; even if we allow that the leadership and responsibility of the priest is acknowledged as a matter of course I think it may lead to the misunderstanding that the priest has somehow been isolated from the rest of the faithful.
I feel that, as the spirit of Collaborative Ministry for Mission has gradually spread, we need to change the names of all bodies stemming from the üeLay Organizationüf, like the üeLay Councilüf and the üeGeneral Meeting of the Laityüf to reflect the fact that we make decisions as a parish.
çA Relief from the strain of being ügchairman of the lay organizationüh
Because the responsibility of being üechairman of the lay organizationüf is
considerable and the physical and mental burden placed on the person who is
chosen for this position is such that when it is time to elect a new one there
is great difficulty in finding someone to take on the position, and also because
there are rare cases in which the chairman assumes a domineering position, it is
a fact that even before the introduction of Collaborative Ministry for Mission
several parishes have already abolished the system of having a single chairman
and shared the responsibility among a group of people. With the introduction of
Collaborative Ministry for
çB From üeLay organizationüf to üeParish Pastoral Councilüf
From the above considerations I think that the üeLay Organizationüf is not
something which builds up the parish; I would like to reaffirm the understanding
of parish which holds that all the people of the parish make up a single
community. The Officers of the faithful are not, therefore, the head(s) of a lay
organization but lay representatives of the whole parish. It is for that reason
that I want to move in the direction of changing the titles of the üehead of the
lay organizationüf and the üedeputy head of the lay organizationüf. In future
leaders, as lay representatives of the people, will work together with the body
of priests appointed to their parish to promote Collaborative Ministry for
çC The Nature of the Pastoral Council
To repeat myself, the Parish Pastoral
Council is not an organization, like the lay organizationon, made up of all the
members of the parish but an organization within the parish which takes
responsibility for decision making.
It is what is known in the Catholic Churchüfs Canon Law as a consultative body. In Japanese there are two expressions difficult to distinguish in English: ügKyogikaiüh and ügHyogikaiüh. The first of these is a body made up of people of the same status who, working cooperatively, make decisions which they put into practice. The second, in the sense used by the Catholic Church, is a body called together by a responsible party to advise him. Their decisions are afterwards submitted to him for approval, at which time he may, on own judgment, decide differently.
In every diocese, for example there is an organization called the priestsüf senate. This is a structure whereby a group representatives chosen by the body of priests working in the diocese attend a meeting called by the bishop so he may consult with them about matters of importance. All the priests in the diocese are not members of the senate; they send representatives they have chosen to attend. The members of the senate collect opinions from their brother priests and present them to the bishop. From time to time he may listen to the opinions of all the priests. The result of the discussions of the priestsüf senate are given to the bishop as üeconsultative opinionsüf. When the bishop accepts and affirms their decision it is validated and put into practice by the whole diocese. Sometimes, if there is an important reason for doing so, the bishop may reach a different conclusion from the priestsüf senate.
In the same way the Parish Pastoral Council, made of representatives of the various pastoral and missionary activity groups and the parish officers who are üecouncilorsüf, is called together by the group of priests in charge appointed by the bishop. There is a point of difference here between the former üelay organizationüf of which all the lay Christians were members, and the Parish Pastoral Council of which all are not members. What all the people affiliated to the parish form is the parish community; there is no need for a separate üelay organizationüf different from this
It is not, therefore, simply a matter of changing the name from üeLay Organizationüf to üeParish Pastoral Councilüf. The Parish Pastoral Council is an organization within the parish, a small part of it, which has the responsibility for the smooth running, regulation and organization of the parish.
Another point which must be made is that the people who put these decisions into practice are not the members of the Parish Pastoral Council. Their decisions are put into effect by all the people of the parish, principally the people who make up the Pastoral and Missionary Sections described below. Any events or activities will be sponsored not by the Parish Pastoral Council but in the name of the Parish as a whole.
Concerning Parish Activities in the Future
ç@ The necessity of having the same üepastoral activity sectorsüf in each parish
In any parish, for Church
management and activities (Missionary and Pastoral work) there have to be
sectors which deal with liturgy, faith education (Sunday school etc.),
Communication, finance and upkeep of buildings even though the names of these
groups may differ. In order that any one at all may take part in these groups
there has to be a set of regulations governing the number of committee members
and the way in which they are to be elected. (I realize that in some small
communities there is no documentary set of regulations). With the advent of
Collaborative Ministry for
çA A revision of our view of evangelization from now on.
There is a need now not only to
think of changing the names of the various parish committees dealing with
different kinds of pastoral and missionary activity but also to look afresh at
the activities themselves in every parish and the way in which they are divided
up to see if they are an effective response to the evangelical needs of modern
society. This will mean that every Christian must wake up to her/his own
apostolic role, and acquire a deeper consciousness of the Churchüfs evangelizing
role towards society at large. At the same time, we need to develop an attitude
of service within the Church so that we can all work together, according to our
abilities, as a united body.
The making of a new code of practice is, therefore, an opportunity not only to reshape the various parish pastoral committees but to look again at the way in which the parish is responding to its present circumstances and the way in which it divides up its pastoral and missionary work. The parish, as a community, needs to examine these matters together.
çB The Menüfs group, Womenüfs group etc. (groups which are defined in terms of gender or age difference).
The time has come to look again
at, and evaluate, the system of parish management based on a division of the
members into a menüfs group, womenüfs group, young peopleüfs group which has
prevailed for a long time and which has undeniably good points. The spirit of
Collaborative Ministry for Mission is, however, one which encourages people to
participate in the parish mission and ministry of service in teams which are
formed irrespective of age or gender according to peopleüfs abilities and
Each sector of activity and service is a single team. Godüfs gifts are given to people without limit and when people respond to that and take part in the work of the Church as believers the work of God is realized through the expression of faith in the form of a pastoral and missionary community.
We may expect that the transition from a long established system based on groups formed according to gender and age to one based on differences of role or activity will be accompanied by difficulties. Where Menüfs group and Womenüfs group continue, they will become voluntary groups like those described below.
çC The system of regional meetings
Depending on the size of the
parish and the particular characteristics of a region there will be cases in
which it is not possible to form a system of pastoral activity units. When the
area of the parish is very great, for example, it may be that some parishioners
are simply unable to take part in group activities. In that case it would be of
great benefit to form regional groups whose members could encourage and help one
another in the business of promoting Collaborative Ministry for
For that reason they could use a system of üeparish regionsüf in which there is a community (team) in each region which will meet to pray together and engage in the ministry of service.
çD Independent üecommunities of choiceüf for pastoral activity.
Within the system of pastoral
activity sectors any parish may, in response to its own special characteristics
of those of the area in which it is situated, establish sectors to deal with
particular kinds of pastoral and missionary activity over and above those set up
to deal with the five pastoral activity units which will be common to every
parish of the diocese.
In addition any members of the parish may, according to their interests and talents, join together, informally, to engage in pastoral activities which are not included in any of the major sectors. These should be, however, seen as part of the parishüfs pastoral activity and not be thought of as individual enterprises having no connection with the Church.
Understood in this way the members of these small groups may also be represented on the parish pastoral council. In this way their efforts will be recognized as an organic part of the parish pastoral and missionary effort.
çE Every Christian is a member of the
I have explained above about groups to take care of the essential sectors of parish management and activities, but there is another important point. Membership of the parish is not limited to those who participate in the management and pastoral activity sectors; every Christian is a member of the parish community. Anyone who feels that he has no need to be involved in the pastoral and missionary work of the parish and leaves it to others is not a proper member of the community. At the same time, however, there are those whose health, or work and family commitments are such that they are simply unable to take an active part in these activities. Membership of the community is not limited to those whose contribution to Church life is visible. People can take part in and serve the Church in a real sense through their daily prayer and sacrifices. Also the spontaneous activities of individual members of the parish are an important part of the parish pastoral effort whether or not they are done through its various formally constituted pastoral sectors. We hope, therefore, that as far as possible every Christian will take his share of the burden as an active member of the parish community but we must take care to avoid an atmosphere which excludes those who are unable to do so.
Translation of some Key Terms used in this document. (Words placed in brackets are sometimes used, sometimes not.)
Ministry for Mission
őKľ˝ Code of Practice
âuâŹâbâNÄiŹŇĺc Body of Priests (appointed to a block)
ĆČő│őŠĽ]őcë´ Parish (pastoral) Council
ĆČő│őŠľł§ Parish Officer
Őłô«Ľö (pastoral) Activity Sector
[Text of the Guidelines]
In order continually to promote
Collaborative Ministry for
Furthermore, in order that the codes of practice of all the parishes of
1-1 Clauses required by the ügguidelinesüh to be included
You are not being asked to produce an entirely new code of practice; you should use the existing code of practice as a basis (where there is no written code of practice build on the current practice) and incorporate the various clauses listed in these guidelines into the new parish code of practice. If, however, communities attached to ügchapels of easeüh and similarly small scale groups wish, because of their small size, to omit some of the required clauses they should seek the guidance of the group of priests appointed to their block and, through their moderator, obtain the permission of the bishop in advance.
1-2 A common understanding throughout the diocese
Before putting pen to paper to
write a new code of practice study the elements of a new shape of administration
for Collaborative Ministry for
1-3 Latitude for the individual parish
These guidelines cover matters relevant to what needs to be fixed so as to put into effect elements which must be part of any code of practice, but there are also a lot of details which each parish can look into and decide about for itself. Please feel free, having understood the guidelines, to decide these other matters in accordance with the customs and tradition of your parish and in the light of your current way of administering it.
1-4 The timescale of the project
It is envisaged that it will take three years to produce a code of practice. If the process begins in January of 2004, by December of 2006 every parish should be operating according to its new code of practice.
1-5 Approval by the Bishop
The idea is that after each parish has completed its deliberations its code of practice will be put into effect by the approval of the bishop. When, therefore, the new code of practice has been completed and has the consent of the group of priests appointed to the block please hand it in to the diocese. When the bishop approves it, it will be in force. At that time, in some cases, it is possible that the bishop will recommend some minor changes. Since this process could take several months please consult the diocese as early as possible.
2-1 The establishment and name
First of all, disband the existing
ügLay Organizationüh in the parish. Then every parish will set up a new ügParish
Councilüh. It will be known as üg
2-2 The name of the Code of Practice of the ügParish Councilüh
The name of the code of practice
will be üg
The Parish Council will be established so that, sharing a vision with the Universal Catholic Church and the Diocese of Kyoto, by administering the parish in a manner conducive to Collaborative Ministry for Mission it will become an evangelizing community.
The body of priests appointed to the block in which the parish has been placed will preside over the parish council. In some cases religious appointed by the bishop may be included in this group.
2-5 Council Members
The membership of the parish
council will be made up as follows:
ç@ ügParish Officersüh chosen as representatives of the laity,
çA representatives of each pastoral activity unit,
çB representatives of other groups.
2-6 Parish Council meetings
Meetings of the Parish Council will be called by the body of priests appointed to the block in which the parish has been placed and held at regular intervals. The regular meeting times should be written into the Code of Practice. (In general meetings would take place each month, except August.) Extraordinary meetings may be called at the discretion of the priests in charge.
2-7 Matters to be discussed
The Parish Council will discuss
and decide upon all matters pertaining to the administration of the parish as a
whole. The main areas are outlined below:
ç@ Making the parishüfs basic policy (long and short term) concerning Collaborative Ministry for Mission
çA Deciding the annual schedule of activities based on this policy.
çB Approving the budget and final accounts of the parish as well as any expenditure outside the budget.
çC The setting up and alteration of pastoral activity units and optional groups.
çD Overseeing any modifications to the Parish Council Code of Practice.
çE Dealing with any other important matters.
2-8 Decision making and approval
The parish council, giving due
importance to dialogue in the spirit of the gospel, will makes decisions through
the consultation of all members present. The matters decided will be put into
effect by being approved by the body of priests in charge of the
3-1 Election of Parish Officers
ç@ The position of ügParish Officerüh is equivalent to that held up to now by the head of the parish lay organization and his deputy or assistants. Officers are representatives of the laity on the parish council whose ministry is church administration.
çA The number of these officers to be elected is discretionary but there should be at least three.
çB It is a matter of basic policy that the election of these Parish Officers should be carried out together with the body of priests appointed to the block in which the parish has been placed. The group of priests will, therefore, after listening to the opinions of the laity and taking into consideration the circumstances of the parish, decide on the method of election.
çC The details of the election procedure (candidacy and nomination, the manner in which the laity vote, term of office, whether or not officers may be re-elected etc.) should be made clear in the code of practice. çD It is required, in general, that when there is an election in the church the right to vote and the right to be voted for belongs to all people registered in a parish over 20 years of age.
çE ügParish Officersüh will be formally appointed by the body of priests in charge of the parish.
3-2 The duties of Parish Officersü@ü@
ç@ The Parish Officers, together with the body of priests in charge of the parish, will form the Parish Collaborative Ministry for Mission Team. This team will coordinate all aspects of parish administration.
çA They will be responsible for preparing parish council meetings and managing the agenda and minutes of those meetings.
çB They will represent the parish at the Block Conference and Regional Council meetings.
4-1 Introduction of the system
A system of pastoral activity sectors will be introduced in all parishes to deal with essential and important pastoral activities. In parishes where such sectors already operate please bring them into line with these guidelines. These units are to be neither part of the Parish Council nor subservient to it; they are agencies for carrying out the policy decisions made by the parish council.
4-2 Sectors common to all parishes
The sectors which need to be
established in any parish are: Education, Liturgy, Communication, Property
Maintenance, and Finance. These will be the Kyoto Diocese Common Pastoral
Concerning the activities of these five common pastoral sectors they should include as a minimum those described in the chart below but other activities besides these may be added in response to the actual circumstances of the parish.
üó Education of
of Eucharistic Ministers and Worship Leaders
Parish magazine, managing Parish Web Page
of buildings and other assets on the parish property
supervision of parish finances
4-3 Participation by everyone
The pastoral activity of the parish and its ministries of service should not be left to a part of the community but everyone should take part, each with his own role, and in order to achieve this it is recommended that everyone should be attached to one of the pastoral sectors. It would probably be a good thing if enrollment in a pastoral sector were to be a public act before the community.
4-4 Consideration for those who are unable to join any pastoral sector
It is not the case, however, that
the pastoral activities of the parish are limited to participation in one of the
pastoral sectors. Freely and spontaneously undertaken activities because of
their individual circumstances by individual members, and these members
themselves, are also important for the church. Activities undertaken outside the
parish pastoral units should, therefore, be recognized by the parish; some
suitable means should be sought by which people engaged in these activities may
take part in the parish council.
You need to think also of some system whereby any lay person may freely state an opinion on matters relating to parish administration.
4-5 Members of the finance ministry sector
Because of the nature of its work the members of the finance sector should not be chosen by an open election but nominated by the body of priests in charge appointed to the block in consultation with the parish officers.
4-6 Responsible representatives from pastoral sectors
Every pastoral sector should elect one or two responsible representatives to organize the sector. The manner of election, term of office, eligibility for re-election etc should be clearly set out in the parish council code of practice. These representatives will take part in the parish council as ügcouncilorsüh according to the rules set out in the code of practice.
4-7 Other Pastoral Sectors
In addition to the Kyoto Diocese
Common Pastoral Sectors any parish may, in response to different needs, set up
other pastoral sectors. Although they have not been designated as Diocesan
pastoral sectors there are several areas which the diocese of
ü@Collaboration with the diocesan
International Cooperation Committee
|Youth Sector||ü@Thinking of the future of the church you might set up a youth unit. This would not be like the young adults section which many parishes have had until now with membership based simply on the criterion of age. Building on the present situation in which young people are engaged in activities which transcend the parish and the diocese it would concentrate on this activity as a pastoral unit of the same kind as the others.|
|Social Activity Sector||
as a parish, you decide to take part in social welfare, justice and peace
or human rights activities you can set up a pastoral unit with a name like
ügsocial activity unitüh.
4-8 Person responsible forüŤüŤüŤ
There might be, in some parishes, pastoral sectors other than those mentioned above such as ügCemetery maintenanceüh, ügpastoral care of immigrantsüh etc. whose activities require a regular point of contact for people or organizations outside the church. The parish council has a responsibility to support and to oversee these activities in so far as they are openly acknowledged as parish works. For this reason, perhaps of the Parish Officers, should be designated as the person responsible for each pastoral sector who will facilitate liaison between that sector and the Parish Council.
Where there are existing groups such as the Womenüfs group and Menüfs group (determined by gender), the Young Peopleüfs group (determined by age group) and parish area groups (determined by locality) these may continue, under the new system, alongside the pastoral activity sectors but voluntary organizations which differ in character from them. You should avoid, however, handing over completely to these voluntary groups work which belongs to a pastoral activity sector. Voluntary groups may not take the place of pastoral activity sectors; they are there simply to follow their own voluntary objectives which should be integrated into the activities of the parish in such a way as to complement them.
5-2 Participation in the Parish Pastoral Council
Voluntary organizations, as the code of practice determines, may send delegates to the Parish Pastoral Council as ügCouncilorsüh.
There may be, to replace what was formerly known as the ügGeneral Meeting of the Laityüh, a meeting which any member of the parish may attend. It will be known as the ügüŤüŤüŤ Parish General Meetingüh.
6-2 It is not the body with the highest decision making authority
This Parish General Meeting is not
the highest decision making body in the parish. The decision making body of the
parish is quite definitely the Parish Council. There is no need, therefore, for
the General Meeting to approve, for example, the budget and final accounts of
The Parish General Meeting, which every member of the parish may and should attend, is an opportunity for decisions made by the Parish Council and approved by the body of priests in charge of the parish to be owned by the whole parish and for any member of the parish freely to state opinions about the administration of the parish.
6-3 Holding the Meeting
The Parish General Meeting will be
called by the body of priests appointed to the block in which the parish is
situated. The times and frequency of meetings will be clearly set out in the
Code of Practice.
7-1 Approval of the Code
In a supplementary clause the Parish Council Code of Practice should state clearly that the Code of Practice will be put into effect when it is given Episcopal approval.
In an appendix the Parish Council Code of Practice will carry the date on which it was given Episcopal approval and the date of amendments.