More and more parishes find themselves without a residing priest. Some of these parishes also have a religious or a lay person in charge. These people are very special since they also participate to the ministry of the bishop. Here is an outline of who they are and what their role is. This description is not complete but it gives a good idea of their ministry in our diocese.

A parish animator? Never heard? Then let me introduce them to you.

The parish
Priest Animator
So that the ministerial priesthood be present in the midst of the community, the bishop will appoint a priest moderator of the pastoral duties; he will encourage
the faithful to work along with the parish animator.
Should a conflict arise, the decision of the parish animator will prevail.
animator is someone who is mandated by the bishop to animate along with a priest “moderator” and the lay people involved in the various parish councils to encourage a faith life in their community.

By their mandate, the parish animator is called to share the pastoral role of the bishop and thus, be in communion with him and the presbyterium.

And What Is Their Role?

The first and foremost duty of the parish animator is to identify the needs of the parish with the members of the P.P.C.; to “do-with” the people already involved in pastoral ministry so that they can come to a “let’s-do-it”; this way the baptized will take upon themselves the growth of their christian community. This person, the parish animator, has also the responsibility to build a faith community (through Bible and catechetical programs, etc), a cultual community (through prayer, liturgy committee, celebration of the Word), a charitable community (through the implementation of various services with special attention to the poor); and finally to promote, animate and support the parish activities, groups and organisations.

What About Their Mandate?

The parish animator receives a mandate which is both special and large. They have the power to baptize, to exercise the ministry of the Word, to preside liturgical prayers, to distribute communion to all, especially the sick and the dying. They have the faculty to preach in the parish to which they are assigned as well as other parishes across the diocese when invited to do so. The homily is usually reserved to the priest and the deacon.

The parish animator may preside funerals in their parish. They may receive a special mandate to preside weddings, as long as the civil norms are strictly observed. They may also preside others ceremonies or liturgies which, by their very nature, do not necessitate the ministerial priesthood.

A Few Characteristics

The main characteristics that one needs to fulfil this ministry are the capacity to journey with people showing care and respect; to foster the growth of all baptised on their faith journey; the ability to work and pray as a group; to understand and to be able to define their role to the members of the various councils and committees of the parish; etc.

Term of Office

Parish animators are appointed by the bishop. They are in place until “revocation by the bishop” or as specified in the contract or the appointment letter.



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