Note: Words within each definition that are also in the glossary will be in bold underline.
On Mission for the Church Alive!: On Mission for The Church Alive! is a planning initiative for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, with the goal of “growing the Church” through evangelization and mobilizing the church’s spiritual, material and human resources for more effective ministry and financial sustainability. This process will require the realignment of resources in every one of the twenty-one (21) districts of our diocese. It will result in new structures, staffing and strategies for our parishes and schools.
Administrator: A priest who is assigned to oversee a parish when some serious reason prevents the immediate assignment of a pastor. Administrators have the same responsibilities and rights as a pastor, except stability of term and are to provide the same pastoral ministry that a pastor ordinarily provides. (Same as priest administrator.)
Auxiliary bishop: An Auxiliary bishop is sent by the pope to serve a diocesan bishop when the diocese is too large or complex for the diocesan bishop to fulfill all of his duties single-handed. Canon law requires the diocesan bishop to appoint each auxiliary bishop as vicar general or episcopal vicar of the diocese.
Baptism: The sacrament that removes original sin, makes us collaborators in Jesus’ ministry and members of the Church.
Bishop: Bishops are successors of the Twelve Apostles who were entrusted by Jesus to teach the faith, lead a local community and foster unity in the Church. They are appointed by the pope. There are two basic types of bishop: “diocesan” and “auxiliary.” The pope makes each diocesan or “ordinary” bishop responsible for the pastoral care and the administration of the Catholic Church in a geographic region called a diocese. Diocesan bishops, in turn, ordain, and appoint priests and deacons, and also commission key lay leaders to assist him in administering the diocese. All Catholics are under the pastoral care and authority of our diocesan bishop, who is responsible to teach, sanctify and govern the faithful of his diocese.
Capacity: The space or ability to accomplish something.
Catechesis: The process of learning the teachings of Jesus and the traditions of the Catholic Church.
Catholic Institute: A legal entity that holds property owned by the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Catholic Leadership Institute: A consulting group specializing in Church leadership and strategic planning for evangelization that has been hired to assist with On Mission for The Church Alive!.
The Church Alive!: The inaugural pastoral letter of Bishop David A. Zubik, in which he outlined his vision of vibrant parishes and schools, and how our clergy and laity could collaborate with the Holy Spirit to achieve that.
Clergy: Those who have received the sacrament of holy orders, namely bishops, priests, and deacons.
Code of Canon Law: Law established by the pope for the orderly pastoral administration and government of the Church. The revised Code, effective November 27, 1983, consists of 1,752 canons in seven books.
Collaboration: The act of working together while listening to each other’s ideas, in a partnership of mutual respect and diversity.
Collection: See offertory collection and operating income.
Compassion: An attitude modeled after Jesus to be of service to others from the heart.
Consultation: When the person who must make a decision invites others to offer advice on the best choice to make.
Courage: Stepping out to do the right thing when it is difficult.
Criteria: A standard by which something is decided or judged. In determining the district models specific criteria must be met so that the Church in that region is vibrant and sustainable.
Cultural Catholic: A person who was baptized Catholic, and perhaps raised Catholic, but who does not actively practice their faith apart from celebration of family or ancestral traditions.
Cura animarum or Care of Souls: A term from the code of canon law which implies the complete pastoral care of the faithful, including all of their sacramental needs, (i.e. Eucharist, reconciliation) and the care of all individuals, Catholic or not, especially those who are most in need. Only a priest can be given the care of souls and each parish is to provide for the care of the souls in their territory.
Deacon: An ordained minister of the Catholic Church. As Ministers of Word, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach and teach in the name of the Church. As Ministers of Sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services. As Ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then marshaling the Church’s resources to meet those needs. Married men may be ordained as deacons but, once ordained, deacons may not marry. Seminarians who are ordained deacons as a step toward priesthood are called “transitional deacons.”
Deacon Administrator: A deacon who has been given special authority by the bishop over and above those normally given to deacons, which allow him to assist in the administrative, economic and personnel affairs of a particular parish(es). Deacon Administrators are supervised by a Priest Director who oversees the pastoral care exercised by a deacon administrator in a parish that does not have a pastor assigned to it.
Debt: Money owed to Parish Deposit and Loan Fund which is a credit union administered by the Diocese of Pittsburgh on behalf of the parishes. Parishes with debt do not owe that money to the diocesan administration, but to other parishes. (See legacy debt.)
Deficit: See operating deficit.
Diocese: Also known as the local or “particular” Church, it is a geographical area in which Catholics, usually gathered in parishes, are united in faith and sacraments with their bishop. The Diocese of Pittsburgh is comprised of six counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties. There are 195 dioceses/archdioceses in the United States.
Disciple: A person who is a follower of Jesus and draws on His grace to follow and serve Him in daily life. (See missionary disciple.)
District: A subdivision of a vicariate. There are 21 districts in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, each comprised of about 8-13 adjacent parishes.
District models: A way to organize the church in a geographic region. District models reconfigure parishes, schools and clergy to provide structures, staffing and strategies that foster the growth of the Church through evangelization. (See ministry models.)
Episcopal vicar: (or simply vicar) is a qualified priest who the bishop appoints to share in his responsibility and authority in a specific area of ministry (e.g., canonical services or church relations), with a specific group (e.g., clergy) or for a particular region of the diocese (e.g., regions known as vicariates). (See regional vicar.)
Eucharist: One of the seven sacraments and the center of our life together as Catholics, when bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus. Although the elements retain the appearance of bread and wine, they are in substance His Body and Blood in all of its humanity and divinity. Also known as Holy Communion, it is through this sacrament that Jesus gradually transforms those who receive Him, leading them to witness their faith in the world. (See Sunday Mass.)
Evangelization: The act of spreading the good news of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. Every Catholic is called to evangelize and our parishes should be organized for evangelization.
Facilitator: A neutral aide who helps a group of individuals engage in a discussion but refrains from advocating for any of the positions in that discussion.
Faculties: Certain powers or authorizations granted by the diocesan bishop that allow a person to function in a particular ecclesial office.
Feedback: Offering a helpful response to an idea. Feedback from the laity and clergy is a necessary step in the On Mission for The Church Alive! planning process. Feedback on the district models will be facilitated in the Fall of 2016.
Finance Council: A consultative body that offers expertise in matters of finance and plant management as they relate to the mission of the Church. A parish finance council advises the pastor, the diocesan finance council advises the bishop. Both are required by Canon Law.
Formation: The process of being spiritually shaped so that we more and more resemble Jesus in word and deed. Formation includes instruction, but also practical experiences such as developing a life of prayer, reliance on scripture and sacramental participation, all seamlessly integrated into our daily routine.
Growth: The gradual, continuous process of conversion into being a disciple of Christ.
Laity or Lay Faithful: All baptized Catholics who have not been ordained a deacon, priest or bishop. Because of their baptism they are called to serve Jesus in His mission to save souls and transform lives and communities.
Lay Ecclesial Minister (LEM): A lay person who has been trained and authorized by the diocesan bishop for specific public service in the Church. LEMs work under the direction of and in close collaboration with the parish pastor. In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, certain roles are considered Lay Ecclesial Ministries: pastoral associate, parish social minister, Catholic school principal; director of religious education; parish business manager; and director of music ministries.
Lay Minister: Distinct from an LEM, a lay person called to cooperate with their pastor in the service of the Church community for the sake of its growth and life. (Evangelization in the Modern World # 73). A lay minister can include laity who serve as altar servers through youth ministers.
Leadership with the Heart of Christ: Leadership deliberately modeled after the example of Jesus.
Legacy debt: The accumulated debt that a parish owes to the diocesan Parish Deposit and Loan Fund. Often this is debt due to borrowing when the parish could not cover operating expenses from its own offertory collections or savings.
Loans: Borrowed money, which becomes a debt, if operating income is not sufficient. Parishes may only borrow from the diocesan Parish Deposit and Loan Fund.
Mass: The celebration of the Eucharist. (See also Sunday Mass.)
Ministry of leadership: The understanding that everyone has gifts and is called to share them. Leadership can be manifested in very different ways in different people. Ministry of leadership engages others and their giftedness with the intention of making The Church Alive!
Ministry models: On Mission for The Church Alive! is exploring new structures for ministry to best use available resources. These include inter-parish collaboration, ministry teams serving more than one parish, deacon administrators, and multiple parishes led by one pastor. (See district models.)
Missionary: A person who spreads the love, mercy and message of Jesus to others through words and deeds.
Missionary Disciple: A follower of Jesus who carries out his/her call to share his/her vocation with others, with the intent of bringing them into the Church. Bishop Zubik describes a missionary disciple as a person who helps others to learn Jesus, love Jesus and live Jesus.
Mission territory: Each district in the Diocese of Pittsburgh is a mission territory where clergy and laity collaborate to make the love and truth of Jesus known by all. It includes all people, not just Catholics, and institutions (e.g. schools, universities, hospitals, prisons) within its boundaries.
Offertory collection: The regular donations of parishioners to support the operation and ministry of the parish. At Sunday Mass and on holy days of obligation, parishioners place their donation in a collection basket, or if they wish, they can electronically transfer a donation directly in to the parish bank account.
On Mission Commission: A group of parish leaders representing each of the 21 districts of the diocese who serve as ambassadors of the planning initiative to their fellow parishioners. This body is responsible for reviewing all of the draft models and gathered feedback from the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful so they can submit a recommendation to Bishop David Zubik.
On Mission Parish Leaders: Six parishioners from each parish recommended by their pastor/administrator to assist their parish with understanding On Mission for The Church Alive! and to assist the On Mission Commission in understanding that parish.
Operating deficit: When normal parish expenses for staff, facilities and ministry exceed the parish income.
Operating income: Revenue that comes from the offertory collection, one-time donations, bequests in wills, fundraising efforts and other miscellaneous sources.
Parish: The local Catholic community where, under the leadership and guidance of their pastor/ administrator, the laity worship God, are educated in their faith, receive the sacraments and serve those in need. As a general rule, parishes are territorial.
Parish Advisory Councils: This term refers to both the pastoral council and the finance council.
Parish Deposit and Loan Fund: A credit union administered by the Diocese of Pittsburgh on behalf of the parishes. Parishes deposit their savings in the Deposit and Loan Fund and receive a market rate of interest. Those deposits are either invested in bonds or loaned to other parishes. Parishes that borrow from the Parish Deposit and Loan Fund are charged interest. The earnings on invested deposits and the interest paid by borrowers is paid as interest to parishes with savings in the Deposit and Loan Fund. Consequently, parishes with debt do not owe that money to the diocesan administration, but to other parishes.
Parish Life Collaborator: A Parish Life Collaborator is a lay ecclesial minister appointed by the Bishop in accord with the Code of Canon Law to work collaboratively with a parish community to assist in serving the pastoral, spiritual, and administrative care of the parish; A Priest Director is appointed by the diocesan bishop to work with the Parish Life Collaborator. Parish Life Collaborators are a response to an extraordinary and specific need as determined by a diocesan bishop.
Parish School: A Catholic school, typically an elementary school, which is the ministry of one parish. (See regional Catholic school).
Parish Share Program: A funding system that sustains the regular operations of the Diocese. Each parish is assigned a target amount based on defined criteria. The parish then conducts a ten-month campaign to raise that goal.
Parochial vicar: A priest appointed by the diocesan bishop to assist the pastor in care of the parish community.
Pastor: A priest appointed by the diocesan bishop to represent him as the shepherd of a parish community. The pastor is responsible for the spiritual and financial care of the parish, and is charged with making recommendations to the bishop concerning major changes in that parish. The pastor is advised by laity, primarily through the Parish Pastoral Council and the Parish Finance Council. The pastor collaborates with the lay ecclesial ministers to make the love of Jesus known by all.
Pastoral Council: A group of Church members whose task is to explore, consider and recommend pastoral initiatives to further the mission of Church. Every parish is required by the Diocesan Synod of 2000 to have a pastoral council to advise the pastor. The diocese also has a pastoral council to advise the bishop.
Pastoral conversion: Is the call of Pope Francis for a change of heart and mind of how the Church does business. This implies a shift from maintenance of the Church to one of missionary outreach and conversion and healthy decentralization. This implies as well that the Church needs see how to grow in her own conversion.
Priest: Those men who, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, are consecrated for the good of the whole Church to a special ministry of Word, sacraments and pastoral leadership. Only a priest may celebrate the Eucharist or hear sacramental Confession. In the Roman Catholic tradition, priests promise to remain celibate because they are married to the Church. Diocesan priests are ordained to serve a particular diocese and promise to obey the diocesan bishop. The bishop assigns priests to a particular ministry and only the bishop can move them. All priests, whatever their assignment, teach the faith, lead God’s people and celebrate the sacraments. Priests who are ordained for religious orders, called “religious priests,” may take additional vows, such as that of poverty, and are assigned by a bishop at the recommendation and with the authorization of their community’s superior.
Priest administrator: A priest administrator is assigned by the bishop to oversee a parish, but without the title of Pastor. He has all of the rights and obligations of a pastor, but without a term of office. It is usually a temporary situation. (See administrator, deacon administrator.)
Priest chaplain: A priest who offers regular sacramental ministry and pastoral care to an institution such as a hospital, jail, motherhouse, or school.
Priest director: The priest who has been given the authority of a pastor to oversee the pastoral care exercised by a deacon administrator or parish life collaborator in a parish that does not have a pastor assigned to it.
Priest moderator: The priest moderator is one of the priests in the team ministry model who, as moderator, directs the joint action of the team of priests.
Rectory: The building that serves as the residence of a priest or several priests serving in parish ministry.
Regional Catholic School: A Catholic elementary school that is the ministry of several parishes. (See parish school.)
Regional Vicar: An episcopal vicar who is a qualified priest with pastoral and administrative experience appointed by the diocesan bishop to oversee a specific region of the Diocese. The regional vicar, represents the bishop, to the parishes, in issues of administration, parish planning and sacramental life and vice versa. (See also vicariate and episcopal vicar.)
Religious: Although this can mean anyone who practices a religious faith, in the Catholic Church it also refers to communities of consecrated women and of men, such as the Benedictines or the Franciscans. Not only is it an adjective that describes these communities and their members, but it can be a noun: “She is a religious.” Although the bishop is responsible for seeing that the faith is taught correctly in religious communities, each has its own systems of governance independent of the diocese. Members of religious communities live out their ministry based mission that inspired their founder.
Sacraments: Outward signs of God’s love instituted by Christ to give grace (God’s life) and to build up the Church as His Body on earth.
Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. They are at the foundation of every Christian life. Baptism brings us into Jesus’ family, confirmation empowers us to carry out the mission that we were baptized for and Eucharist continually strengthens and renews us for that mission.
School subsidy: Money that a parish provides to a Catholic school in order to pay expenses that aren’t fully funded by tuition, fundraising and other income sources. Current diocesan policies require subsidy of at least 10 percent of the parish’s income without a school. For parishes with a school, the school subsidy cannot exceed 35 percent of the parish’s income.
Subsidiarity: An organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority.
Seminary: The place where men are formed to become priests.
Senior priest active: A priest who is at least 65 years old who wishes to remain in active parish ministry without full administrative responsibilities of a pastor. A priest may request the appointment as a “senior priest” as an alternative to accepting or continuing as a pastor or administrator.
Stewardship: Acknowledges our gratitude by giving back through both monetary donations and acts of service. An act of support to the Church, that acknowledges that all gifts come from God. Also stewardship is a return to God through the Church as an act of gratitude.
Strategic planning process: A series of steps taken to anticipate a desired future, and design a way to achieve it, while focusing on the ends rather than the means.
Structures: Physical facilities such as buildings OR a standardized, characteristic pattern of behavior. For example, the Parish Share Program is a structure for raising funds to support the diocesan bishop’s ministry.
Sunday Mass: This is the highpoint of a Catholic’s week. At Sunday Mass, a community gathers to listen to God’s Word and to receive Holy Communion so as to live one’s faith in service to others in the example of Jesus.
Sustainable: An organization that has all the resources and support required to carry out its mission well into the future.
Team ministry: A team of priests who act as pastors together and hold equal rank in the pastoral care and governance of a parish. Canon law requires the diocesan bishop to appoint one of the priests as moderator, or leader of the team.
Vibrant parish: A parish in which the mission of Jesus manifested in preaching, worship and outreach, is visible, vigorous, and growing.
Vibrant school: A school of academic excellence whose role it is to form students as disciples of Jesus.
Vicar General: An auxiliary bishop or priest appointed by the bishop to assist him in the overall administration of a diocese. He has all of the executive authority needed to run the day-to-day concerns of the diocese, similar to a “chief operating officer.”
Vicariate: A geographical section of a diocese that is served by a regional vicar as a means of promoting pastoral governance consisting of parishes and other Catholic institutions. It is a structure that promotes the diocese’s unity in faith and worship. The regional vicar represents the bishop to the parishes and institutions in his vicariate and vice versa.