I am confused. It seems that every couple of months our Parish priest is going on vacation. This time he is taking a one week trip to Mexico. Now does the priest need permission from the Bishop to go? And who pays for these vacations? The parish? The Diocese? The thing that is making the parishioners upset is that he did not even inform the parishioners that he was leaving. Is this a common practice for priests?
Code of Canon Law:
Canon 533 §2. Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, a pastor is permitted to be absent from the parish each year for vacation for at most one continuous or interrupted month; those days which the pastor spends once a year in spiritual retreat are not computed in the time of vacation. In order to be absent from the parish for more than a week, however, a pastor is bound to inform the local ordinary.
Generally speaking, priests receive 4 weeks of vacation and usually 1 week of spiritual retreat.
You say that “every couple of months” the priest is away, that would make sense if he takes 1 week of vacation every 3 months because that would be 4 weeks of vacation a year, plus he still has another week for the purposes of a spiritual retreat that he could take at any point during the year.
The priest does not need permission from the bishop to take his vacation time, it is his right in canon law. The only requirement is that the priest inform the Bishop if he is to be away for more than a week, however even here canon law does not require any permission to take more than a week at one time it merely requires that the bishop be informed.
A diocesan priest receives a salary, therefore his vacations are expected to be paid for through his own finances. Some dioceses have policies that the parish pay a certain fixed amount towards the priest’s annual retreat but vacations are the priest’s sole responsibility.
Priests usually let at least some people know they will be away for a certain period of time, however there is no requirement that they make a public announcement of some kind.