The Leadership Roundtable welcomes your parish to Standards for Excellence. You are joining together with Church leaders and parishioners across the country to take positive steps to promote good stewardship, accountability and transparency in the Church.
1. MISSION STATEMENT AND MINISTRY PROGRAM
Parishes are established to continue the mission of the Catholic Church in particular geographic locations and carry out this mission through specific ministry program activities. Parishes should have well-defined mission statements, and their ministry programs should effectively and efficiently work toward achieving those mission statements. Parishes have an obligation to ensure ministry program effectiveness and to devote their resources to achieving its stated purpose.
2. GOVERNANCE AND ADVISORY BODIES
The administration of parishes is entrusted to the pastor, appointed by the bishop, who is required by canon law to establish certain advisory councils. A parish finance council is required by canon law. Canon law allows the bishop to mandate the establishment of a parish pastoral council. These councils are governed by norms issued by the bishop. Canon law also places requirements on the financial administration of the parish by the pastor as well as systems of accountability. Effective parish advisory bodies should serve to further the mission of the organization, establish management policies and procedures, ensure that adequate human resources (volunteer and/or paid staff) and financial resources (earned income, grants, and charitable contributions) are available, and actively monitor the organization’s financial and programmatic performance.
3. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Both clergy and laity who serve on parish staff, either in paid positions or as volunteers, should act in the best interest of the parish, rather than in furtherance of personal interests or the interests of third parties. Parishes should have policies in place, and routinely and systematically implement those policies, to prevent actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest.
4. HUMAN RESOURCES
A parish’s relationship to its ministerial personnel, both clergy and lay, paid and volunteer, is fundamental to its ability to achieve its mission. The roles and responsibilities for bishops and priests are contained within canon law. Volunteers occupy a special place in parishes, serving in governance, administrative and programmatic capacities. Parishes’ human resource policies should address both clergy and laity, paid staff and volunteers, and should be fair, establish clear expectations, and provide for meaningful and effective performance evaluation.
5. FINANCIAL AND LEGAL
Parishes must practice sound financial management and comply with a diverse array of legal and regulatory requirements, including those of canon law. Financial systems should assure that accurate financial records are kept and that the organization’s financial resources are used in furtherance of its religious mission. Parishes should conduct periodic reviews to address regulatory and liability concerns.
Although parishes are private entities, they operate in the name of the Church in service to members and the community at large with support from the faithful and the general public. As such, all parishes should provide the faithful and the public with information about their mission, ministry program activities, and finances. They should also be accessible and responsive to members of the faithful and members of the public who express interest in their affairs.
Parishes depend on charitable fundraising for the support of their work. All fundraising activities should be conducted on a foundation of truthfulness and responsible stewardship. Parish fundraising policies should be consistent with their mission, compatible with their organizational capacity, respectful of the interests and intentions of donors and prospective donors, and in compliance with applicable canon law.
8. PUBLIC LIFE AND PUBLIC POLICY
Parishes provide an important vehicle through which individuals may chose to organize and work together to improve their communities. Therefore they should represent Catholic Social Teaching and the interests of the people they serve through public education and public policy advocacy, as well as by encouraging clergy, staff, volunteers and the faithful to participate in the public life of the community.
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