Discussion on Orthodox Blog: The Parish: Mission or Maintenance? Print
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 28 May 2007 19:26
Fr. Gregory, an Orthodox priest over at Koinonia, has started a discussion of our vision booklet, The Parish: Mission or Maintenance, which Fr. Michael Sweeney and I gave as presentations to theologians and seminarians at the Angelicum and North American College in 2000.

Pope John Paul II inaugurated his pontificate with this invitation to the world; now he inaugurates a new Christian millennium with the same invitation. And, throughout the Church, we are witnessing a remarkable convergence of signs of renewal of the Church in her mission to the world. The apostolic role of the laity has been resoundingly affirmed and promoted at the highest levels of the Church for the first time in our history. The Holy Father has called the whole Church to re-dedicate all her energies to the new evangelization. Lay Catholics who assume personal responsibility for the Church’s evangelical mission are emerging by the millions all over the globe. A dramatic shift in the historic relationship between clergy and laity is well underway, which has important implications for all Catholic leaders who work with lay people.

It is our conviction that, through these historic developments, the Holy Spirit is both illumining and empowering the office of the ordained, and releasing the full vigor of the lay apostolate, for the sake of Christ’s redeeming purposes in the world. But something even more unexpected is happening. As the apostolic gifts and call of the laity have become evident, the apostolic potential of the parish – the one truly universal Catholic institution and the place where ninety-eight percent of Catholics have their only contact with the Church– has also been revealed in a whole new light. No longer can the parish be simply a place where the laity receive the spiritual goods of the Church. If all lay Catholics are apostles to the world as the Church teaches, then the institutions that nourish them must become places of apostolic formation, support, and consultation. The worldwide network of parishes that has sustained the faith of lay Catholics for centuries can and must become primary centers of lay formation and outreach to the world. We would like to explore with you the theological and practical implications of this new challenge.

To read (or download) the whole of PMM, go here.

(For those of you who like to hold a text or would like to discuss it in a group - as many parish leadership teams have done -, PMM can also be ordered in dead tree version for a mere $2 through our online bookstore).

To take part in the discussion at Koinonia, go here.
Koinonia: The Parish: Mission or Maintenance?

And, of course, be sure and tell us what you think below.