The parish is the venue in which both the mission of the Church is lived, and the relationship of Catholics to the local and universal Church is mediated. Catholics come to the parish, not to the diocese, to celebrate the sacraments, to be catechized and formed, and to receive pastoral care. The parish is the "Church inserted into the neighborhood and the world," the place in which the Church encounters the world and the world encounters the Church. However, the parish is rarely examined theologically or understood from a pastoral perspective.
This book has three objectives:
1. It frames the parish with respect to the theological, pastoral, canonical and civil status of the parish.
2. It outlines further theological work to be done; and
3. It proposes criteria for evaluating further theological, pastoral, and civil judgments and initiative concerning the parish and parish life.
Fr. Thomas Baima is currently the Vicar for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the Archdiocese of Chicago. He holds an STB, MDiv, STL, University of St. Mary of the Lake; his STD is from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He is the former Vice-president/Provost at the University of St. Mary of the Lake; Director, Archdiocese of Chicago Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Former President, Illinois Conference of Churches, Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.