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Posted June 26, 2008

Book: In Fulfillment of Their Mission: The Duties and Tasks of a Roman Catholic Priest: An Assessment Project
EDC Senior Project Director: Joseph Ippolito, M.A.
National Catholic Educational Association. Washington, DC. 2008. Pp. 90

An Excerpt from the Introduction

This document presents a profile of what a successful Roman Catholic pastor needs to know and be able to do. It draws primarily upon the Program of Priestly Formation, in particular the four pillars of priestly formation, as well as, Pastores Dabo Vobis and the Basic Plan for Ongoing Formation of Priests. It is influenced by developments in the areas of spirituality and cultural diversity. It is informed by the experiences of successful priests and seminary educators.

We hope that this document will serve as a catalyst for discussion among seminary faculty, as a framework for curriculum review, analysis of syllabi, and faculty study. The materials here may be useful in designing portfolios that assess the seminary student’s intellectual and pastoral development, and may offer guidelines for shaping healthy behaviors that impact spiritual and personal development. Seminarians will gain a fuller understanding of the scope of liturgical, pastoral, and spiritual leadership as well as the necessary commitment to on-going-formation.

Continuing Education Directors will find the document provides potential tools for the self-assessment of individual priests and for further development of programs aimed a augmenting ministerial skills. Vocation Directors will notice that the document offers a concise picture of the pastoral duties and tasks of a priest in ministry today and may be used to help potential candidates discern their vocational call. Lay leaders will value this comprehensive ministerial portrait that illustrates the canonical and theological ramifications of presbyteral leadership as they intersect with their own shared responsibility with pastors.

An Excerpt from the Book

Participates in the Life of the Diocesan Church


Respects the authority of the Bishop or his delegates in all matters of diocesan goverance

Employs a deep understanding of the nature and structure of the Church to establish relationships (with peers and superiors) and to guide actions.

Approaching Proficiency

Maintains a rapport with the Bishop through formal meetings and informal conversations (e.g., Presbyteral gatherings with priests, Confirmations).

Implements diocesan policies and decisions (e.g., Attends diocesan meetings, gives prompt attention to diocesan business.)


Incorporates a mindset of collaboration that presbyteral ministry is linked to the ministry of the Bishop (Reads, responds, implements diocesan memos; attends meetings with Bishop that relate to diocesan policies; attends workshops on liturgical procedures, responds to action statements that implement diocesan guidelines and policies).

Initiates parish activities.

Above Proficiency

Serves as a consultative resource for the Bishop.

Leads projects in collaboration with the Bishop and all who minister in the local church.

Table of Contents

Project Background and methodology

Project panel members

The Nine Ministerial Duties

1. Celebrates liturgy and sacraments

2. Provides pastoral care and spiritual guidance

3. Teaches the faith

4. Leads parish administration

5. Practices a ministry of presence with parish groups

6. Participates in the life of the diocesan church

7. Engages in diverse publics

8. Engages in professional development

9. Engages in personal development

The use of an assessment portfolio in seminary formation

Sample elements of a seminarian portfolio

A. The successful priest — skills and knowledge

B. The successful priest — behaviors and attributes

C. Resources for priests

D. Defining the current context of the ministry