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How To Create And Maintain A Great Parish

June 23, 2017

As seen in The CARA Report Vol. 22 No 4 Spring 2017 Issue


A new book  called Great Catholic Parishes presents s suggestions for improving vitality in parishes. The author is William E. Simon Jr., founder of Parish Catalyst, which is a non-profit organization that “specializes in providing support to parishes and priests to create vibrant Catholic parishes.” Simon and  his colleagues adapted a concept developed by the Leadership Network, a Protestant non-profit, to structure the Catholic Church in the United States. Their study revealed four essential qualities that characterize the most successful Catholic parishes, listed below with a summary of the “crucial takeaways.”

  1. Great Parishes Share Leadership. Pope Francis is modeling shared leadership for those  pastors: one in three spontaneously mentioned his influence during interviews. Shared leadership is the optimal model of parish leadership. Vibrant parishes take pride in their strong, professional staffs and programs for volunteer leadership. Sixty-seven percent of the pastors named lay leaders as a parish asset. They are disciplined  about prayer and exercise, participating in priest support groups, and in general provide  time for their indispensable roles as pastors.

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