Pastors, in collaboration with parochial vicars, deacons and lay ministers, according to their proper roles and charisms, share responsibility for pastoral leadership. The spiritual, physical and mental health and ongoing support of ordained and lay leaders is vital for Families of Parishes.

Effective leadership from priests, deacons, lay staff and other parish leaders is critical for parishes to grow in vitality, resulting in evangelizing communities of faith that radiate Christ.

Learn more about the principle of Leadership and how effective leadership is essential to pastoral planning.

“You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.”

Pastoral Councils

Pastoral councils were first established in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1966. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the Sixth Synod of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (1971) envisioned the work of the pastoral council to be parish renewal. Therefore, the purpose of the pastoral council is to promote the spiritual growth of the Family of Parishes community, and to plan ways for the Family of Parishes to carry out the mission of the Church.

The responsibility for the mission of the Church is a shared responsibility. The clergy and lay members of the Christian faithful have respective roles and support each other in a spirit of co-responsibility. To help fulfill that purpose in the context of a faith community, the documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the 1983 Code of Canon Law call for a structure that will assist the pastor in his pastoral ministry, which is the pastoral council.

Family of Parishes Leadership Team

A Family of Parishes is best served when the pastor and key collaborators (clergy and lay staff) work together as a team.  While there are many groups of people who participate in leadership and governance of a parish or Family of Parishes (e.g. Pastoral Council, full staff, Finance Council, commissions, etc.), the leadership team has the greatest potential to effectively assist the pastor in implementing the mission of the parish.

beacons roundtable

Plan to join other parish leaders (priests, deacons, lay staff) for this series as we focus on building vital parishes that are beacons of light. Each Beacons Roundtable session includes timely information, examples from archdiocesan parishes, and opportunities for you to share your experience, thoughts, and ideas with other participants.

Leading change

“The only constant in life is change.” – Heraclitus, Greek philosopher 

Effective leaders know how to lead change within the communities they serve.   

For Beacons of Light and other change processes in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, we’ve followed an 8-step model developed by Dr. John Kotter. 

Clifton strengths

The CliftonStrengths talent-identification tool has been used by thousands of Catholic parishes throughout North America to help staff and parishioners discover, develop, and become better stewards of their talents, not only in their parishes but in all aspects of their lives. The process strengthens the ways in which people thrive at home, in their parish, and in ministry and service in their local communities.


Each of us has a different approach to leadership and will need to lead in different styles depending on the circumstance.  Check out these videos from Dr. Tim Kloppenborg on the three styles of leadership: transformational, servant, and developmental.

Leadership author Chris Lowney draws on the writing of Pope Francis in highlighting these styles of leadership in his article in Forbes.

“Tend the flock of God in your midst, [overseeing] not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

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