Parish Pastoral Administrator





In recent decades, there has been a renewed emphasis grounding Church ministry, both lay and clerical, in the sacrament of Baptism. The Church teaches that there is an essential difference between the priesthood of the faithful and the ordained priesthood, and yet, there is a special way in which ordained and lay ecclesial (church) ministers share in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ. 

As envisioned by the Second Vatican Council, we trust that the Holy Spirit is leading our diocese in the collaborative form of ministry embedded in the Church's foundational missionary days. As St. Paul reminds us, "There are different gifts but the same Spirit; there are different ministries but the same Lord... You, then, are the body of Christ. God has set up in the Church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, healers, assistants, administrators..." (1 Cor. 12: 4-5; 27-28).

As noted in the Journey in Faith and Grace, our diocese has experienced, and is projected to continue to experience, a significant decline in the number of priests available to serve as pastors in the parishes of our diocese. In the next five years, according to current policy, 78 priests will be eligible for retirement. To replace these priests will require 15 or more ordinations per year. In light of this, promotion of priestly vocations remains a priority for this diocese.

In light of these considerations, and after consultation with the vicars forane, the Presbyteral Council, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Chancery staff, and others, I have decided to formally introduce into our diocese, the ministry of the Pastoral Administrator. In doing so, I have appointed a task force to assist in the full implementation of this ministry in some parishes of our diocese. 

The pastoral administrator is a professional minister, appointed by the diocesan bishop and installed by a vicar forane, to lead and officially administer a parish community without a resident pastor. The primary relationships of the pastoral administrator are to the diocesan bishop through the priest moderator, sacramental minister, staff, pastoral and finance councils, and parish community. 

The role of the pastoral administrator, whether a permanent deacon, religious, or lay person, ensures that the ministries of Word, Worship, and Service are functioning well. The pastoral administrator is in charge of a parish and is accountable to the diocesan bishop through the priest moderator and works collaboratively with the priest moderator, the sacramental minister, and parish staff. 

As we look to alternative types of staffing for pastoral leadership in our parishes throughout the eight counties of Western New York, may the ministry of the pastoral administrator in our diocese assure that our parishes can and will continue to be vital communities of faith and ministry.


Applicants for the ministry of parish pastoral administrator are required to complete the application process which is coordinated by the Office for Evangelization and Parish Life.  Applicants must have a graduate degree in theology or ministry, and a minimum of three years of experience in parish leadership, including personnel management, program administration and pastoral care.  In most cases this implies a full-time, professional leadership position in a parish.  In addition, applicants must complete the diocesan orientation course. 


Applicant Resources:

Application for Pastoral Administrator

Recommendation Form

Instructions for Application and Reference Form

Personal Release of Information Authorization Form

HIPAA Authorization Form


Parish Resources:

Annual Compensation for Pastoral Administrator 2018

Rite of Installation for Parish Pastoral Administrator

Relationship of Priest Moderator with Pastoral Administrator

Relationship of Priest Sacramental Ministers with Pastoral Administrator

Effective Leadership Transitions - Tips and Traps


General Resources:

Ministry of Pastoral Administrator - Informational Brochure

Ministry of Pastoral Administrator - Guidelines