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PASTORAL GUIDELINES

in the catholic diocese of orlu Nigeria.

CHAPTER ONE

DIOCESAN ADMINISTRATION 

The purpose of the Church is spiritual but it operates within a human society with all the same complexities. Good administration is essential to assure that the structures necessary for the promotion of the Gospel are in place. The mutual coorperation of the Faithful, the Clergy, Religious, and the Laity is essential to the well ordered administration of the diocese. The structures of the diocese are intended to be effective means of nurturing the Faith in our portion of the Vineyard of the Lord. All should contribute generously with the varying gifts and talents with which they have been blessed by God.

 

PRESBYTERAL COUNCIL

 1.  Priests are primary collaborators with the Diocesan Bishop in the promotion of the works of the Church. Together with the Bishop they form one presbyterate. It is essential to the spiritual health of the Diocese that the Bishop and his priests work in a unified fashion for the well being of the Diocese. A Presbyteral Council is to be maintained and is to serve as one vehicle of collaboration. It is regulated by its own statutes and by the following norms.

 

2.                  The Presbyteral Council shall consist of at least nine members: two ex-officio members, two other priests serving in the Diocese at large appointed by the Bishop and five priests serving in the Diocese (diocesan or religious) elected by the priests of the Diocese. 

 

3.                  At least six of the priests who serve as members of Presbyteral Council are to be appointed by the Bishop to serve as Diocesan Consultors in accord with Canon Law (Canon 502 § 1).

 

4.                  Each member of the Council, except the ex-officio members, shall be elected/ appointed for five years in accord with the Statutes of the Presbyteral Council.

 

5.                  The Council shall be governed by the Code of Canon Law and its own Constitution and By –Laws.

 

 

BOARD OF CONSULTORS

6.        The Board of Consultors shall consist of a group of Pastors permanently selected by the Bishop. Their purpose is to offer counsel to the Bishop on  extraordinary priest’s matters when called upon to do so. 

 

 

PRIESTLY LIFE AND MINISTRY BOARD

7.                  The will be a priestly life and ministry board.  To be concerned with the life and welfare of the priests.

 

8.                  Operation of the Priestly Life and Ministry Board shall be governed by the procedural rules established by the Board and approved by the Bishop.

 

 

DIOCESAN PASTORAL COUNCIL

9.         The Diocesan Pastoral Council is consultative and planning agency of the diocese, representative of the broadest possible spectrum of the Catholics of the diocese; lay and religious.

 

10.       Membership and operation of the Diocesan Pastoral Council shall be governed by its constitution and by-laws as approved by the Bishop. 

 

 

DIOCESAN FINANCE COUNCIL.

11.       The Diocesan Finance Council shall be estab1ished and maintained in accord with the Code of Canon Law (cf. Canons 492-494) and shall be regulated by the Statutes established for this purpose.

 

12.       The duties of the Diocesan Finance Council include, among other things, providing advice on the management of the real and financial assets of the Diocese. The Bishop may call upon the Finance Council to advise him on any matter relating to diocesan financial maters.

 

13.       The Finance Council shall meet periodically to review the Diocesan budget, examine the year-end financial report, oversee adherence to the Diocesan financial Policy, , provide and provide assistance to the Diocesan Finance administrator.

 

 

REGIONAL DEANS.

14.       In each region of the Diocese it is fitting and necessary to have one priest who is assigned to provide a ministry of service to the other priests of that area. This priest is referred to as the Dean and the territory is known as a Pastoral Region.

 

15.       The Dean is to be a priest residing in the Region who is respected by the priests, has leadership ability, is willing to give leadership in the Region and someone to whom the priests will give support. The Dean is the Bishop's representative in a very real way on the Regional level. He should also be seen as a representative of the clergy and the people of his Pastoral Region on a Diocesan level (cf. Canons 553-555).

 

16.       The Dean is to see to it that the priests of the Pastoral Region come together fraternally at least once a month. This gathering is to be social, fraternal and spiritual and may include a topic for discussion or study, a time for prayer and adoration, opportunity for confession, a meal and some kind of entertainment the Dean is responsible for arranging the event it is properly hosted by different Pastors in different Parishes.

 

17.       The Dean, at the request of the Bishop, is also to inspect and report in a general way on the condition of a Parish set up.

 

18.       The Dean is to inform the Diocesan Pastoral Office immediately of the serious illness or death or any serious issue of any priest in his Pastoral Region. The Dean is to inform all the priests in his Pastoral Region whenever an obituary or any other information is announced from the Chancery. He is also to inform the Bishop immediately of any irregularities in the Parishes of his or any other Deanery.

 

19.       The laity, for their part, has the responsibility of reporting to the Dean the concerns which they have regarding parochial matters within the Region. Unless these clearly need to be reported directly to the Bishop, the Dean is to make sure that appropriate reports are sent to the Bishop.

 

20.       The Dean has the duty to see that during the illness or after the death of a Pastor, the books, documents, sacred vessels and other objects belonging to the Parish are not lost or taken away. He must take care that all personal effects of the deceased are kept intact.

 

 

DEANERIES / PASTORAL REGIONS.

21.       The following are the Pastoral Regions that make up the Diocese of Orlu:

  1. St. Gregory's Pastoral Region with headquarters at St. Gregory's Parish Amaigbo.
  2. St. Michael's Pastoral Region with headquarters at St. Michael's Parish Urualla.
  3. St. Theresa's Pastoral Region with headquarters at St. Theresa's Parish Uli
  4. Regina Pacis Pastoral Region with headquarters at Regina Pacis Parish Ihioma.

 

CHAPTER TWO

THE CLERGY

As sharers in the ministry of Christ, the clergy are to collaborate fully with their Bishop in the pastoral care of the flock. The spiritual well being of the people entrusted to their care out of love for God must always be their chief and immediate concern. Dedicated service to the people is critical to the nurturing of the Faith. The directives specified in this chapter should not be viewed as optional but rather as necessary and binding to help assure a well coordinated and effective Parish Ministry. They are also necessary for the good order of the Diocese.

 

22.       Remembering always that in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice the work of redemption is exercised continually, priests are to celebrate frequently; indeed, daily celebration is recommended earnestly since it is the act of Christ and the Church in which priests fulfill their principle function (Canon 904). The daily celebration of Holy Mass should not be neglected either for oneself or one's people without serious cause.

 

23.       Clerics are bound in a special way to pursue holiness since they are the dispensers of the mysteries of God in the service of His people. Therefore they are to fulfill faithfully the duties of the pastoral ministry, they are to nourish their spiritual lives from the two­fold table of Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist and they are obliged to pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily according to the approved liturgical books (cf. Canon 276).

 

24.       Each priest of the Diocese is to be familiar with the provisions of Canon 528 - 537 which outline the pastoral and administrative duties of Pastors. These are to be reviewed occasionally and at least annually.

 

25.       Availability is both a cross and a blessing. Availability is a form of sacrificial service to the People of God entrusted to the care of a Pastor. When a priest entrusted with the care of souls is absent from his charge, he is to leave the telephone number of the place where he or a substitute may be reached in case of necessity.

 

26.       In our secular world external signs of consecration to the mission of the Church are very important. The soutane is a very notable and important external sign. As such, it must be worn by the priests of the Diocese. It is therefore highly recommended that the Soutane be worn always except on those occasions when it would clearly be inappropriate to do so, e.g. playing games, jogging, doing manual labor etc.

 

27.       One of the ways to help ensure a fruitful ministry is for a Pastor to know his parishioners (Canon 529). Such pastoral knowledge is an important part of Parish ministry and should be undertaken with zeal and dedication.

 

28.       In the attempt to know his parishioners, priests should make every effort to avoid being attached to a particular family.

 

29.       An inventory of personal belongings shall be placed in the Chancery. Property in the rectory is presumed to belong to the Parish unless the contrary is clearly obvious.

 

30.       Pastors shall take care that the Parish records are well bound, carefully preserved and stored in a fire-proof safe or filing cabinet.

 

31.       Before a Pastor leaves his Parish for a new assignment he shall submit a current financial report and an inventory of the parish property to the Diocesan Pastoral Office. All records, including financial records and a copy of the parish inventory must be left in the Parish.

 

32.     Priests who have extra Mass intentions are encouraged to send them to the Diocesan Pastoral Office for the use of other priests in the Diocese.

 

33.       The amount of the Mass stipend is set by ecclesiastical authority; the current amount is 50 naira. No priest may ask for more than this and great care should be taken to see that those unable to provide a full stipend are not deprived of the spiritual benefits of Masses (Canon 945)

 

34.       Every Parish and institution enjoying the services of a diocesan priest is responsible for a contribution to the Diocesan Retirement Plan for each priest assigned (Canon 1274 § 1). The amount is to be specified by the Health and Retirement Board and may be adjusted periodically. Parishes served by Religious Orders are expected to provide the same amount to the Diocesan Retirement Plan. The Diocese or the Retirement Plan is then responsible for arranging with the sending Community the retirement benefits for their members serving in the Diocese.

 

35.       Clergy are to receive stipend on monthly basis. 

 

36.       Every priest member pledges, in fraternal charity, to offer three Masses for the repose of the soul of each deceased brother member of the Association at the time of death

 

37.       Every priest assigned to the Diocese of Orlu must have health insurance.

 

38.       All priests working in the Diocese are entitled to an annual vacation of one month which may be taken on an interrupted or continuous basis. The days which the priest spends once a year in spiritual retreat or at official meetings are not counted in his vacation days (Canon 533 §2). The secretariat is to be notified in writing of the date on which vacation begins and ends. The name of the substitute priest must also be submitted, care being taken that he fulfills all necessary Diocesan Regulations. It is strongly recommended that the vacationer arrange a means of contact in case of emergency.

 

39.       Besides the annual vacation, all priests serving in the Diocese are entitled to one day off per week. These days may not be accumulated if they are not used each week.

 

40.       Relative to absences from the Parish, priests should bear in mind the regulation of Canon 533 §2,             which specifies that priests are not to be absent from the Parish for more than one month each year. These regulations apply to all priests, diocesan and religious, assigned in the Diocese.

 

 

 
CHAPTER 3
EDUCATION

The importance of sound and attractive Catholic educational programs for children, young people and adults cannot be emphasized strongly enough. Spiritual Education Programs to promote and deepen knowledge of our beliefs and practices are basic to a healthy parish life.

 

It is the responsibility of the parish priest to organize moral instructions in public schools.

 

In all diocesan schools Catholic doctrine must be taught. 

 

41.       41. Each Parish is to have a Catechist responsible to the Pastor and represented on the Parish Pastoral Council. Working closely with the Pastor, the concern of the Catechist is the whole scope of catechesis in the Parish, i.e. formal catechetical classes, programs for children, youth ministry programs, Catholic schools, and ongoing catechesis for all Parish members.

 

442.     42. The parochial schools of the Diocese of Orlu are regulated by the Bishop through the Education Secretary as set forth in The Diocesan School Policy available at the education office. (cf. Canons 796-806).

 

 

CHAPTER 4

TEMPORALITIES

The goods of the Church come primarily from the faithful who support the Church through the gift of their time, talent and treasure. It is the responsibility of the Pastor, with the participation of the Parish Finance Council, to supervise carefully the administration of the goods belonging to the Parish. Proper utilization of the talents and expertise of the laity can do much toward freeing up the Pastor to attend to his primary spiritual obligations (cf. Canons 1254-1298).

 

43.       Ownership and administration of each church property in the Diocese of Orlu is vested in the "Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Orlu, a corporation sole."

 

44.       All deeds to property must be kept at the Diocesan Secretariat. Duplicates of deeds are to be maintained in the Parish File.

 

45.       It is entirely inappropriate for the Church Hall or Church facilities to be used for receptions, gatherings, or other events, which are not in keeping with Catholic theology and practice. Events which directly promote or foster particular political Candidates or Parties are not to be held on Church property

 

 

THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL

46.       A Parish Pastoral Council shall be established in each Parish of the Diocese of Orlu (cf. Canon 536). Each Station is to be adequately represented in the Parish Pastoral Council.

 

47.       Each Station may have its own Station Council.

 

48.       The Parish Pastoral Council is to have the task of fostering and coordinating pastoral activity as its primary goal.

 

49.       The Parish Pastoral Council is to have a consultative voice only unless otherwise required by these Statutes.

 

50.       The Pastor always retains the right to preside over the Parish Pastoral Council.

 

51.       Only those persons who are sufficiently knowledgeable, prudent and of good moral character are eligible for positions on a Parish Pastoral Council. It is, therefore, the ultimate responsibility of the Pastor to approve only suitable candidates.

 

52.       A Parish Pastoral Council should be composed entirely, or at least in significant part, of persons who, by virtue of their Parish office, are engaged in the apostolate of the Parish (Canon 536 §1).

 

53.       When a Parish is vacant, i.e. there is no proper Pastor, the Parish Pastoral Council ceases to exist. However, the former Parish Pastoral Council may be directed to meet by the dean or Parish Administrator. In such a forum, it would only meet to maintain essential Parish programs and would not be entitled to recommend new policies without the explicit permission of the Bishop.

 

54.       The Parish Priest retains the power to appoint the Chairman and Secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council. He may allow these offices to be filled by election.

 

 

PARISH FINANCE COUNCIL

55.       Every Parish and station of the Diocese of Orlu must have a Parish Finance Council to advise the Pastor in financial matters. Each Parish Finance Council shall function according to the guidelines described hereafter (cf. Canon 537).

 

56.       Finance Council members may also be members of the Parish Pastoral Council.

 

57.       While a Parish Finance Council is required in each Parish and Station of the Diocese, it remains the responsibility of the duly appointed Pastor to oversee the temporal needs and administration within his Parish. Consequently, the Parish Finance Council shall be advisory to the Pastor and he shall preside over it (cf. Canon 532 and Canon 1279).

 

58.       Every Parish Finance Council shall be composed of at least three (3) members of the laity. It is very much preferred that at least one member of the Parish Finance Council be truly skilled in financial affairs and preferably civil law (cf. Canon 492 § 1).

 

59.     It is highly recommended that the Parish Finance Council meet every month.

 

60.       Before appointing the members of the Parish Finance Council the Parish priest should consult the parish pastoral council. After having heard from the Council, however, the Pastor may freely appoint his financial consultants. The Pastor may remove a member of the Parish Finance Council only for the most serious reasons and only after having consulted his Parish Pastoral Council (cf. Canon 494 §1,2°).

 

61.       It shall be the responsibility of the Parish Finance Council, under the direction of the Pastor, to prepare a budget each year to be approved by the Pastoral Council. A copy of this budget is to be sent to the Diocesan Pastoral Office with the annual financial report (cf. Canons 493-494 §4).

 

62.       It is the responsibility of the Parish Finance Council to observe the prescriptions of the Diocese relative to bookkeeping, financial reporting or any issue which is related to temporal administration (cf. 1284 §1,7°).

 

63.       Among the areas over which the Parish Finance Council is to exercise vigilance is that of Collection and cash management.

 

64.       When a Parish is vacant, i.e. there is no proper Pastor, the Parish Finance Council ceases to exist. The former Council members, however, may be asked to assist in Parish financial maintenance by the Dean, the Parish Administrator or the new Pastor.

 

65.       As a general rule, the Pastor and the Chairman or Secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council are the signatories to the Parish Account This also holds with all parish organizations and societies

 

66.       Blank checks are never to be signed and checks should not be signed without proper documentation.

 

67.       Budgets should be developed and approved.

 

68.       At the end of each fiscal year every Parish Priest must publish a financial statement of the parish. The statement should cover the financial picture for the entire year. The statement should show clearly the amount of debt and savings as well as income and expense for the year. A copy of this statement must be sent to the Diocesan Pastoral Office by February 1st (cf. Canon 1284 §1, 8°).

 

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