Ultimately, the Family of Parishes collaborative model with rotating priests can enrich the spiritual life of each parish while fostering a sense of unity and support within the broader spiritual community.
Benefits of having priests rotate from parish to parish within a Family of Parishes collaborative model:
It’s all about Jesus
Diocesan Priests are ordained to minister in the Diocese of Buffalo. This means that they are ordained for ALL people of the Diocese of Buffalo. The rotation of priests helps all of us to recognize that we are a Diocese embodied within our parishes. As the Catholic church we think not just about our specific congregations, but that we are connected as the Body of Christ, the Universal Church working in harmony with one another. The celebration of the Sacraments is about an encounter with Jesus, not about a specific priest or building. Each priest has their own unique way of bringing us into that encounter, and this gives people an exposure to other priests and their unique way of bringing Jesus to others.
Priests can provide support and assistance to multiple parishes, ensuring that each community receives the care and attention it needs. Implementing a Clergy Team approach can prevent burnout by distributing the workload among clergy team members.
Building a stronger community
Priests rotating between parishes can foster a sense of unity and interconnectedness within the larger family of parishes. In fact, this encourages collaboration and cooperation among parishioners from different communities and is especially important as individual parish populations diminish due to aging congregants.
Continuity and stability
One of the natural consequences of now having a much smaller and aging priestly community, there will be a higher rate of priest assignment changes. The Clergy Team approach of the collaborative model (Family of Parishes) helps to maintain a sense of stability for the parishes given this current environment. Parishioners will always have access to Mass and Sacramental needs and pastoral care, even if the face of the clergy changes.
Skill and knowledge sharing
Priests can share their experiences and expertise gained from one parish with another, leading to a transfer of best practices and learning from different community dynamics. This will strengthen the collective knowledge and skillset amongst all clergy.
Variety and Diversity
Priests bring different experiences, personalities, and skills to each parish, enriching the spiritual life of the community. Parishioners gain exposure to a wider variety of teaching styles and pastoral approaches.
Different priests bring new perspectives and ideas, preventing the parish from becoming too comfortable or resistant to needed change. A rotating system prevents stagnation and encourages innovation.
More priests will have the opportunity to become adaptable to diverse congregations, learning to serve various needs and demographics. Ultimately, this added exposure can make all clergy far more versatile and empathetic in their ministry.
This can be the most efficient use of resources, allowing priests to serve in areas that may have a greater need at any given time. This flexibility can address specific needs within different parishes.