Priests are called upon to engage in various forms of ministry in service to Christ’s faithful. Included among these forms is the office of Pastor. This description focuses on the substantive responsibilities of priests assigned as Pastors as distinct from other ministries within a parish and non-parochial ministries.

There are many sacramental, liturgical, and spiritual obligations that a priest freely undertakes upon his ordination and upon assuming the office of Pastor (see, for example, Canons 528-530). This statement does not seek to focus on those obligations which are commented upon in the Personnel Policy Handbook for Priests. It does seek to enumerate those responsibilities unique to the office of Pastor which are carried out within the context of the local Pastorate.


With the Archbishop

  • The Pastor is assigned to his Pastorate by the Archbishop.
  • The Archbishop shares with the Pastor his vision of the role of the local Church and delegates to the Pastor those responsibilities and authorities by which the Pastor can implement this vision.
  • The Pastor seeks to extend the ministry of the Archbishop to his people and is accountable to the Archbishop for the manner in which he carries out his Pastoral and temporal leadership of the parish.
  • In performing Pastoral functions, personally or through staff, a Pastor shares with the Archbishop those obligations which are defined in the Code of Canon Law and Archdiocesan policy.

With the Regional Vicar(s)

  • When an Regional Vicar is appointed to act on behalf of the Archbishop with respect to a specified function or in a specified geographic region of the Archdiocese, the Pastor relates to the Regional Vicar as the representative of the Archbishop in all matters of spiritual, Pastoral, or administrative nature.
  • The delegation of the Regional Vicar does not replace the paternal and filial relationship that exists between the Archbishop and his priests, but is rather an extension of the Archbishop’s role of governance over the Archdiocese.

With the Associate Pastor(s)

  • The Pastor shares with the Associate Pastor(s) responsibility for serving the spiritual needs of parishioners and the common good of the parish community. He provides guidance and assistance to the Associate Pastor(s) as requested or necessary to assure the effective performance of Pastoral obligations. The Pastor also relates to the Associate Pastor as a staff member in the manner described in the follow paragraphs.

With the Staff

  • In his leadership role, the Pastor relates to staff members as his colleagues and collaborators.
  • Through prayerful leadership, the Pastor guides the staff to use their particular charisms and gifts in service to the Church’s mission in accord with the Pastoral priorities set forth by the Archbishop.
  • He keeps himself informed of their successes and challenges in ministry through regular staff meetings and yearly performance evaluations.
  • He is attentive to the staff’s ongoing professional and spiritual development by taking advantage of regular staff in-service, spiritual activities, and team building.
  • The Pastor is solicitous for the well-being of each staff member and is accessible to offer cooperation and guidance if appropriate.
  • Care should also be taken when professional, pastoral and spiritual issues become intertwined in the life of staff (especially when a parishioner is hired as an employee) and the parish.

With the Pastoral Council

  • The Pastor establishes and/or maintains a Pastoral Council as required by the policies of the Archdiocese.
  • He sees to the adoption and updating of a constitution and/or bylaws.
  • The Pastoral Council focuses particularly on Pastoral planning, Pastorate objectives, and establishing immediate and long-term goals.

With the Finance Council

  • The Pastor establishes and/or maintains a Finance Council as required by universal canon law and the policies of the Archdiocese.
  • He sees to the training and appropriate leadership of this Council.
  • The Finance Council focuses on the financial matters related to the parish and/or school and makes certain that financial policies are being properly observed.

With the Parish Corporators

  • The Pastor nominates the lay corporators for the parish corporation;
  • The Pastor makes certain the Parish Corporators receive training for their role;
  • The Pastor meets at least quarterly with the Parish Corporators and makes sure they receive all information necessary to accomplish their responsibilities;
  • The Pastor maintains a positive and collaborative relationship with the Corporators in the oversight of the legal and financial matters attendant to parish administration.
  • The Pastor makes sure the minutes of the Corporator meetings are properly recorded and sent to the Chancery and to the other members of the parish corporation.

Some Specific Responsibilities of a Pastor


  • The Pastor is responsible for the evangelization of all peoples within his Pastorate.
  • He invites all to come to faith in Jesus Christ and to live in relationship with him.
  • This can be done in many different ways including door-to-door ministry, mailings, evangelization programs, etc.

Christian Formation:

Once a person has come to faith in Jesus (been evangelized) they are then in need of Christian formation/catechesis.

Catholic School:

    • While recognizing that there are different administrative models currently in use in Archdiocesan Catholic Schools (parish, regional, etc.) the involvement of priests is critical to their success.
    • The Pastor of a parochial school delegates to the Principal the immediate direction of the school and its program.
    • He invites collaboration between the Principal, school, and the parish community.
    • He is involved in the religious education of the students as well as the on-going formation of the faculty.
    • He attends to the liturgical and sacramental needs of the school community.
    • Canonical representatives to A.C.S. schools are involved in many of the same areas as the Pastor of a parish school without direct involvement in the administrative and financial concerns of the school.

Religious Education:

  • The Pastor provides for the religious education of all youth in his parish.
  • This is done in accord with the policies of the Archdiocese and in the manner sufficient to meet the needs of each Pastorate.

Adult Education/Continuing Formation:

  • The Pastor is also responsible for the continuing formation of the adults in his parish.
  • This continuing formation is done in many ways through bible studies, small groups, RCIA, etc.
  • The Pastor awakens within his people a desire for ongoing formation in the Christian way of life.

Social Action:

  • The Pastor is responsible for the outreach of his Pastorate beyond their boundaries.
  • This can take on many different forms including the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Catholic Charities, etc.
  • The Pastor awakens within his people a love for the poor and the marginalized in society.
  • The Pastor should be knowledgeable of and share in the concerns of the Catholic Church for the solution of world problems and peace and justice.
  • He is responsible for supporting Archdiocesan efforts that focus on peace and justice issues.

Management of Temporalities:

  • The Pastor works in a cooperative relationship with the competent Archdiocesan offices in the construction, renovation, expansion or disposal of parish buildings and property.
  • The Pastor establishes proper financial policies, including a balanced budget, payment of parish debts, and proper entry of all income and expenses in accordance with relevant Archdiocesan policies and canon law.
  • The Pastor cooperates with appropriate development plans and policies to establish a proper financial foundation for parish operations.
  • He operates in accord with all relevant Archdiocesan policies.

Personnel Functions:

  • The Pastor is responsible for seeing that qualified persons are secured for positions that are approved and budgeted for in the parish structure.
  • With reference to professional personnel, he cooperates with the Archdiocesan Department of Human Resources.
  • He engages support personnel in administration, assistants, housekeeping and maintenance work.
  • The Pastor is responsible for seeing that new parish personnel are properly oriented and assisted in their adjustment to their parish duties.

Archdiocesan work:

  • A Pastor may be asked by the Archbishop or elected by his brother priests to serve in as a member of an Archdiocesan Committee, Task Force, or in a specialized area of work (ex: League of the Little Flower, Propagation of the Faith, etc.).
  • He is encouraged to do so joyfully for the good of the Archdiocese and the Universal Church.

The Rectory:

  • The Pastor administers rectory facilities in a manner to provide a home-like atmosphere and adequate living and working conditions.
  • He is responsible for making sure only assigned residents reside at the rectory in accordance with diocesan policy.
  • He encourages community relationships in the rectory.
  • He fosters an atmosphere of hospitality for visitors and guests.
  • He should be sensitive to any special needs of his brother priests (and other rectory residents) while respecting their right to privacy.


The role of a Pastor is a multifaceted ministry. The full spiritual, administrative, human, and temporal components involved cannot be put into an exhaustive list. This document, along with the policies contained in this Handbook, seek to form a framework by which the ministry of Pastor can be exercised.