Is a Parish Priest the same as a pastor?

Is a Parish Priest the same as a pastor? Or are all priests assigned to a parish considered Parish Priests?

This question came into my mind because Saint John Vianney is the patron of Parish Priests.

In the United States the term “pastor” refers to the priest who has been given authority over a specific parish by the bishop. It is a canonical term because pastors have certain rights and responsibilities given to them in canon law. I think that in America the term “parish priest” is a colloquial expression referring to any priest who works at a parish. I have been told that a pastor in the UK is referred to as the “parish priest,” and his assistant is the “curate.” British readers: is this correct? In the diocese of Arlington, VA where our American home is, a priest assigned by the bishop to assist the pastor is called the “parochial vicar.” I think that St. John Vianney is considered the patron of all priests who work in parishes since he understands their problems and needs which are different from priests who work in diocesan administration, for example.

Oh. No wonder I had a hard time finding a solid answer – it’s cause there isn’t one. Weird though, it’s such a broad term, I would have thought they would give Saint john Vianney a more specific patronage.

I do think he has a very specific patronage: all priests who work in a parish. This would be regardless of what one region or another calls a priest. Whether a prieset is called a pastor, a parochial vicar, a curate, etc, the point is, priests who work in a parish need support and prayers, and St. John Vianney is the saint they can turn to for that. We laity need to give our support and prayers to our parish priests as well.)

Yeah, what I meant was title-wise, more specific than a broad term like “parish priest” which apparently means different things depending where you are.

Yes, Marysann. The head priest in our parishes is referred to as the “parish priest”

“Parish Priest” is the general term to describe any priest working in a parish. Thus, St. John Vianney is patron saint of all priests who work in a parish. Well, actually, with the “Year for Priests”, Benedict XVI widened his patronage so that he is now the patron saint of all priests. :slight_smile:

That long announced and anticipated expansion of patronage did not, to my knowledge, in fact occur. It was scrubbed at the last minute. And yes, parish priest means different things in American and British settings. It would be helpful to know the Latin for St. John’s patronage in order to sort out the specific group to whom he has been recommended.

Hmmm… Really? You might be right, though. I cannot find any announcement about the expansion of patronage on the Vatican website. I wonder why it wasn’t followed through…

IMHO I think that St John Vianney’s patronage refers to all priests who work in a parish as opposed to perhaps bishops or monks etc.

A Zenit article posted on June 8, 2010, (just prior to the closing festivities) mentions it:

Finally, on Friday, June 11, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the theme will be “With Peter, in Ecclesial Communion.” That day the Pope will celebrate a 10 a.m. Mass, during which the clergy will renew their vows and the Holy Father will proclaim St. John Vianney as the patron saint of all priests. (He was previously recognized as the patron saint of parish priests and confessors.)

But, you’re right, I don’t see any mention of it in Benedict’s homily for that day. I wonder why the Holy See didn’t follow throught with it. :shrug:

In our parish, we have a newly ordained priest. He was not given the authority of a Pastor. So in certain things he says, I am not allowed to do that (eg move objects in the worship space: Altar, Tabernacle, Crucifix etc) I understand we have a pastor but I don’t think anyone knows who it is. We would have to ask the diocese. I think our priest knows and, if needed to do something outside his authority, would contact the offical pastor of our parish.

If things work out well, he will be elevated to pastor in 2 more years.

In Manila, Parish Priest = pastor
Not so here in North America, Pastor is the more common term for the Priest in charge for the Parish.

More or less, yes. The priest the bishop appoints in charge of a parish is usually called the “parish priest”. I think the term curate is a bit outdated and other priests would usually be referred to as “assistant parish priest”. Alas, due to the shortage of priests it doesn’t matter whether we use the term “curate”, “assistant parish priest”, or anything else because a parish is very lucky if it has more than one priest.

To digress and get a bit technical curate is probably the most appropriate term for the priest in charge of the parish. Curate means the one who has been given the ‘cure of souls’ and that of course is the “parish priest” as we call them in the UK or the “pastor” as you call them in the USA.

I learn something every day! I was considering posting that “care of souls” would be a more transparent way to phrase it, and to relate the word to a museum “curator,” who is in charge of caring for the artifacts. But you were right and I was . . . well, less right, in any event!

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