Priests, deacons, lay people, and bishops will find this book an invaluable resource in their efforts to improve the quality of parish ministry and life.
Priestly Ministry in Multiple Parishes is a sociological and pastoral examination of the phenomenon of priests serving multiple parishes. The book addresses the impact of this ministry on the priest and the local church. The research is thorough and fascinating, and it offers insight for the whole of the Church in the United States.
This very important book gives a clear picture of just how far we are from the ideal of one pastor-one parish. . . . provides an important voice for the stories and experiences of those who serve in multiple-parish situations.
Through extensive research and interviews with pastors, Sr. Schuth looks at models of leadership that contribute to vital parishes as well as factors that might lead to a diminishment of vibrant parish life. The voices of the interviewed pastors inform and support the growing numbers who minister to multiple parishes. Just as important, the voices also provide insight for bishops, diocesan staff and seminary educators as they work to meet the emerging needs of these ministers and the people that they serve.
Priestly Ministry in Multiple Parishes is a serious-minded examination of the recent and growing trend of priests who necessarily take responsibility for serving multiple parishes. Drawn heavily from common recurring patterns in such service, repercussions in ministerial responsibilities and levels of satisfaction, recommendations for improving the morale of priests, recommendations for seminaries, diocesan models for multiple parish ministry, and much more. Extensive appendices including summary responses from selected survey questions put to 911 recipients round out this thoughtful, fact-based examination of a changing religious dynamic.
Midwest Book Review
Schuth shares wisdom offered by successful multiple-parish pastors; practical tips as audiotape books for long drives; and personal strategies as prayer, patience, time management, delegation, and self-care. She also summarizes the survey responses involving actions church leaders can take to better prepare and support priests who minister to multiple parishes.
Though the primary audience for Priestly Ministry is the clergy, individual Catholics would gain a more balanced view of the direction the U.S. church is headed by reading and discussing this important resource. Diocesan leaders might use the information for articles and workshops at the parish level to build support for pastors of multiple parishes and encourage greater cooperation among those they serve
Katarina Schutch has done us a great service. She has examined and clarified all the issues surrounding the practice of having a single priest pastor two or more parishes. She has surveyed these men, talked with them, and visited them, and she tells us how they feel and what they need. Also she conveys to us the wisdom of veteran priests who have successfully ministered to multiple parishes. The book proves that more long-range planning in dioceses is needed, and she shows several successful examples. All American Catholic leaders need to read this book.
A marvelous blend of well done research, that is wonderfully fleshed out with the passionate and faith filled voices, stories, and practical wisdom of priests who have accepted the challenge to serve multiple parishes from throughout the country. I heartily recommend it.
Mark Mogilka, Director of Stewardship and Pastoral Services, Diocese of Green Bay