20 July – Vatican Instruction on Reforming Parishes and Diocesan Restructuring

On Monday 20th July, the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy published a very interesting and helpful instruction on reforming parishes and restructuring dioceses to better serve their ‘singular mission of evangelisation’.

The Instruction is called ‘The pastoral conversion of the parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church’ and seeks to ‘foster a greater co-responsibility and collaboration among all the baptised’.

Signed by Pope Francis June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the Instruction promotes greater cooperation among different parish communities, emphasising the need for the parish to be inclusive, evangelising, and attentive to the poor.

To achieve this goal, the document recommends the establishment of ‘pastoral regions or units’ entrusted to the oversight of an episcopal vicar appointed by the bishop.

The document builds on the 2002 instruction from the Congregation of Clergy, ‘The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community,’ and the Vatican interdicasterial instruction ‘Ecclesia de Mysterio,’ on the collaboration of laity in the ministry of priests.

It includes instructions on the suppression or merging of parishes, ways of assigning pastoral ministry within the parish, the pastoral council, the sacraments, and the renewal or “conversion” of parish and diocesan structures.

Download a copy of the Instruction on Reforming Parishes and Diocesan Restructuring 

Download an overview of the Instruction by Mgsr Andrea Ripa