The Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy releases a new document to help guide the reform of parish communities. It is entitled "The pastoral conversion of the Parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church."

By Isabella Piro

The Church offers space for everyone to find their place, while respecting the vocation of each individual. This idea forms the core of the Instruction on the parish, which the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy released on Monday.

The document does not promulgate any new legislation, but proposes methods to better apply existing rules and canonical norms. The aim is to encourage the co-responsibility of the baptized and to promote pastoral care based on closeness and cooperation between parishes.

What emerges most forcefully from the Instruction is the urgency of missionary renewal, a pastoral conversion of the parish, so that the faithful may rediscover the dynamism and creativity which allows the parish to be always "going forth", aided by the contribution of all the baptized faithful.

The Instruction consists of 11 chapters and can be divided into two parts: the first (chapters 1-6) offers a broad reflection on pastoral conversion, missionary outreach, and the value of the parish in the contemporary context. The second part (chapters 7-11) dwells on the subdivisions of parish communities, various pastoral roles that make them up, and the ways in which the governing norms are applied.

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