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01-12-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Dear Parishioners,

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support, especially during my installation as Pastor of the parish last Sunday. I am very grateful. I look forward to your continued prayers and support in this new responsibility. A number of our parishioners have asked me to explain the difference between Parochial Administrator and Pastor, and what is involved in having the Via Christi Society provide the pastoral leadership to the St. Benedict community for the next ten years.

A Parochial Administrator is a Priest who is appointed by the Bishop to take care of the pastoral leadership of a parish when the office of the pastor is vacant. He holds this position on a temporary basis until a new pastor is appointed by the Bishop. The Parochial Administrator has the same rights and responsibilities as any Pastor (Canon 539 & 540, 1).

A Pastor is a priest appointed by the Bishop to be in charge of a parish for an extended period of time (Canon 522). He is entrusted with the administrative, pastoral, teaching and spiritual welfare of the parish community (Canon 519). A pastor reports directly to the diocesan bishop and serves under his authority and directions. This is because, technically, the Bishop is originally the pastor of all parishes in his diocese. Therefore, the pastor of a parish is only a representative of the bishop at the parish level (Canon 523 & 682).

Canon 520 states: “With the consent of the competent superior, a diocesan bishop, can entrust a parish to a clerical religious institute or clerical society of apostolic life, even by erecting it in a church of the institute or society, with the requirement, however, that one presbyter is to be the pastor of the parish.” Please read the cited Code of Canon Law, above, for additional clarification.

Entrusting the St. Benedict Parish to the pastoral leadership of the Via Christi Society means that the Society, in collaboration with the Bishop, will be responsible for providing priests that serve the St. Benedict community for the next ten years. This arrangement helps to ensure the stability of our parish, especially in light of the current low vocation. This is because Religious Orders have the ability to move their priests around the world to meet a specific need anywhere they serve. Additionally, a fraction of the financial obligation of the parish usually given to the Diocese will now be given to the Via Christi Society, especially to support the training of priests within the Order. Other than that, everything remains the same. The parish is still part of the Diocese. There are currently several other parishes in the Phoenix Diocese with this same arrangement, such as St. Andrew the Apostle that is entrusted to the Apostles of Jesus Religious Order, St. Francis Xavier, entrusted to the Jesuit Society, and more. I will explain more about the Via Christi Society in the future. Meanwhile, please visit www.viachristisociety.org (under construction).

Thank you and Remain Blessed.

Fr. James

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