Sacrosanctum Concilium 42

A definition of the pastor’s role, to be a vicar for the bishop.

But because it is impossible for the bishop always and everywhere to preside over the whole flock in his Church, he cannot do other than establish lesser groupings of the faithful. Among these the parishes, set up locally under a pastor who takes the place of the bishop, are the most important: for in some manner they represent the visible Church constituted throughout the world.

The parish is reaffirmed, with no mention of apostolates or other associations.

And therefore the liturgical life of the parish and its relationship to the bishop must be fostered theoretically and practically among the faithful and clergy; efforts also must be made to encourage a sense of community within the parish, above all in the common celebration of the Sunday Mass.

This raises an interesting point. Does one foster the relationship between the bishop and an individual parish by liturgical obedience alone? That seems to be so much of the focus these days. The clergy regularly meet with and celebrate liturgy with their bishop. What about the lay people? Are we satisfied with the annual round of confirmation? That sacrament is, in some places, increasingly being done in multi-parish settings. Bishops are prominent in the Catechumenate cycles as well as the red, white, blue, or whatever Masses.  Do parishes and bishops need more of a direct confluence at liturgy than what they have? Or maybe dioceses are just too darn big. What do you think?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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