On July 20, the Vatican released a twenty-two-page instruction entitled "The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of the Evangelizing Mission of the Church.” While it does not introduce new legislation on pastoral care, the Vatican press office said it was developed by the Congregation for Clergy as a guide "to the various projects of reform of parish communities and diocesan restructuring, already underway or in the planning process." It also clarifies the role of deacons, consecrated men and women, as well as the laity, in dioceses where there is a shortage of priests.
“Since its inception, the Parish is envisioned as a response to a precise pastoral need, namely that of bringing the Gospel to the People through the proclamation of the Gospel and the celebration of the sacraments. The etymology of the word makes clear the meaning of the institution: the Parish is a house among houses and is a response to the logic of the incarnation of Christ” (7).
The document deals extensively with the role that the parish -- clergy and faithful -- play in spreading the Gospel. It also deals with current efforts at diocesan and parish restructuring: "In the process of renewal and restructuring, the Parish has to avoid the risk if falling into an excessive and bureacratic organization of events and an offering of services that do not express the dynamic of evangelization, but rather of self-preservation" (34).
The Holy Father approved the document on June 27 and it was officially promulgated on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.
For the full text, please visit: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2020/07/20/200720a.html