Canonical Visitation to my parish: “We’ve done NOTHING!”

I’m not always in my parish, though it covers territory in three counties of Western North Carolina. I’m basically never in my office. Much better to be with the most hurting of Jesus’ Little Flock. See the picture above, which is about 300+ miles round trip when all is said and done. So, the “Canonical Visitation” of the parish had to be scheduled waaaay in advance. What is a canonical visitation, you ask? Let’s let AI provide the answer…

Dear AI, what is a “canonical visitation” to a catholic parish according to the Code of Canon Law?

According to the Code of Canon Law, a “canonical visitation” is an official visit made by a bishop or a representative of the Holy See to a Catholic parish or institution. The purpose of this visit is to assess the pastoral needs of the community, ensure that the celebration of the sacraments is being performed according to Church law, and to offer guidance and support to the parishioners and clergy. During a canonical visitation, the bishop or representative can also inquire about the financial status of the parish and its compliance with Church teachings. The results of a canonical visitation can lead to changes in leadership or administrative practices within the parish or institution. As a part of the overall governance structure of the Church, canonical visitations are considered important tools for ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of Catholic ministries around the world.

In this case, in this far-flung parish on the far side of the peripheries, it’s not the Bishop, but the Vicar Forane who does this visitation. There were some items in which, it was duly pointed out, improvement could be made. For instance, getting less battered editions of some liturgical books at Holy Redeemer and, over at Prince of Peace, possibly swapping out the pews with those in his church (a better fit for both churches). Also at Prince of Peace some improvements were suggested for the in-ceiling baldachin in the mission church both for lighting and change-out-able hanging cloths along the lengths of the baldachin (I didn’t catch the technical name for those). Holy Redeemer now has an altar rail. The same was suggested for Prince of Peace. We just have a kneeler there. I was not expecting such suggestions. Great.

After both campuses and the rectory were closely inspected, after records books were duly signed, there was more encouragement provided to me as far as I go as a Pastor, you know, after many by-the-way conversations about a wide range of topics:

  • “You’re doing good here, Father George. You’re doing a lot of good.”

Of course, you know what happens when you’re doing a lot of good… So, I then brought up in the last minutes before my canonical visitator returned to the far side of the mountains a possible upcoming persecution of the Church. We agreed that many of our Church leaders just don’t get the easy answer provided by Saint Thomas More:

  • “I am the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

And that put’s all the success and praise into perspective.

To quote some priest-friends about us priests who are still alive in this world, without exception…

  • “We’ve done NOTHING! We’ve not yet laid down our lives for Jesus. We’ve done NOTHING! NOTHING!

There are priests and sisters and so very many laity right around the world who laying down their lives in witness to the Lord. How could we even for a second think that we are doing well in anything until the Lord Himself welcomes us on the far side of witness to Him in heaven, joining the countless others who have their lives in witness to the Lord.

Until we join their ranks, their glorious ranks, we’ve done NOTHING! NOTHING!


Filed under Priesthood, Vocations

3 responses to “Canonical Visitation to my parish: “We’ve done NOTHING!”

  1. sanfelipe007

    Amen, Father.

  2. Claire dion

    Good. morning Fr. George. You parishioners
    are blessed to have you.

  3. nancy v

    Oh, you are doing something and that is God’s Will! It has to be incredibly taxing to continue to teach and preach and seemingly no one changes. But we are changing. Please God, continue to use Fr. George David Byers as a plow…or the donkey that pulls the plow.

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