home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted December 9, 2004

Book: The Catholic Parish: Hope for a Changing World
Author: Robert J. Hater
Paulist Press, NY, pp. 248

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

The Catholic Parish is a practical, visionary book intended for those interested in making their parish a more faith-filled community. To help them accomplish this goal, it blends real-life stories, pastoral experiences, church directives, theological conclusions, managerial perspectives, and pastoral suggestions into a holistic approach that addresses the complex challenges facing parishes.

Robert Hater provides a roadmap that will guide parishes through an examination and renewal of pastoral ministry relevant to today’s world. Engaging and enthusiastic, this hands-on guide is a must-read for anyone engaged in parish ministry or interested in making the parish a truly Christian community.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Pastoral Suggestions

Paul Wilkes, in Excellent Catholic Parishes, listed eighteen common traits of excellent parishes. Each point in this final section begins by quoting Wilkes’s common traits as a basis for a checklist. Following each of his quotations, my pastoral questions are intended to help parishes evaluate their life and ministry. Wilkes says that excellent parishes . . .

1. Are Looked Upon As Missionary Outposts.

To what extent is your parish an integral part of the neighborhood community, seeking to change it for the better while remaining faithful to your Catholic roots?

To what degree does your parish appreciate its cultural composition, needs, dreams, and customs and take specific steps to address them in preaching and ministry?

2. Maintain the Edge.

How often does your parish evaluate itself, asking how to improve on what is presently being done, especially in the liturgy, to avoid falling into mediocrity?

If people do not respond enthusiastically to parish ministry, to what extent is your parish eager to change to ensure parish vibrancy?

3. Have a “Habit of Being.”

To what extent does your parish manifest a fundamental orientation that reflects welcome, respect, excellent ministries, connections to real life, and a joyful presence in the liturgy and at other times?

In what ways can it be said of your parish that new attendees and regular members are moved by the enthusiasm and eagerness of parishioners to respond to them as persons, concerned about their faith and human needs?

Table of Contents:

Part One:

Refocusing the Vision — Parishes: Past and Present

1. Today’s parishes at a crossroad
parishes: the way they were
changes in society, changes in parishes
historical crossroads in U.S. parishes
pastoral suggestions

2. Facing the New Crossroad
shifting theological and pastoral perspectives
facing the new crossroads
internal dynamics facing parish life
pastoral suggestions

3. Centering on People’s Needs
Catholic identity
addressing people’s needs
recreating the parish
pastoral suggestions

Part Two:

Grounding the vision — evangelization
4. Evangelization: the heart of parish life and ministry
the meaning of evangelization
evangelization and the kingdom
evangelization and ministry
evangelization: the responsibility of the entire Christian community
evangelization: family, parish, and work
pastoral suggestions

Part Three:

Living Out the Vision — Chief Aspects of Evangelizing Ministry
6. Catechetical Ministry
focusing parish catechesis
dimensions of catechesis
catechetical personnel
pastoral suggestions

7. Liturgical Ministry
the meaning of liturgy
challenges to liturgy
enhancing parish liturgy
pastoral suggestions

8. Service Ministry
parish ministry and Jesus’ Call to serve
social ministry in the family and society
pastoral suggestions

Part Four:
Realizing the Vision — The World and the Parish: Present and Future
9. Challenging a Parish’s Vision
society’s basic orientation
aspects of American society
pastoral suggestions

10. Managing the Parish’s Vision
a parish’s fundamental orientation, style, and mission
a parish’ mission statement
the parish planning process
pastoral suggestions

11. Refocusing Parish Ministries through Rites of Passages
meeting people’s basic spiritual needs
key life moments and sacramental ministry
key life moments and extra-sacramental ministry
pastoral suggestions