What does it mean to be a ‘pastoral’ center?

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, right, and Deacon Patrick Wright, pastoral administrator of Holy Family Church, sat in the sanctuary during an Oct. 28 event to bless the new Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center, which is situated on Holy Family’s campus. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, right, and Deacon Patrick Wright, pastoral administrator of Holy Family Church, sat in the sanctuary during an Oct. 28 event to bless the new Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center, which is situated on Holy Family’s campus. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor

For lovers of literature, the word pastoral conjures an image of a shepherd nestled amid his flock in a green, idyllic landscape. For visual art lovers, this scene may be rendered in oil paint on canvas.

The Archdiocese of Louisville is using the word to conjure images of a particular shepherd, the Good Shepherd, to be exact, in naming its new headquarters.

“Our special meaning comes from the way Jesus took that phrase and talked about being the good shepherd,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, in an interview about the new Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center.

He hopes that the archdiocese will “lead as Jesus did” from its new center of operations.

“The Pastoral Center is about a kind of leadership that involves care,” he said. “The Pastoral Center, then, becomes not only the office of the archbishop — who cares for the faithful throughout the archdiocese — but extends to the people who are supported throughout the 110 parishes of the archdiocese — care for priests, development of ministers, all that emanates from the Pastoral Center of the archdiocese.”

The archbishop reiterated his oft-repeated concept that the archdiocese is not a business or entity separate from the 110 parishes, but rather the archdiocese is the 110 parishes, which receive support and assistance from central ministries of the archdiocese.

Emanating from those ministries, he said, ought to be a sense of “being cared for.”

“Pope Francis is fond of calling the parish the family of families,” he noted. “In many ways, the archdiocese is a family of parishes and the Pastoral Center is a locale from which support, leadership and care is provided.”

The archbishop also pointed out that he intentionally “grounded the archdiocesan Pastoral Center in an active and vibrant parish.”

“If I had to choose a name for a parish to place a new Pastoral Center, I would name it Holy Family,” he said, adding that he’s grateful for the parish’s welcome.

The location is also “a reminder to me as a pastor and a sign to parishioners that it is centered in parish life — it’s not remote or a business. It’s meant to be a source of the grace of Christ,” he said.

The Cathedral of the Assumption continues to be the mother church of the archdiocese, the archbishop noted. He continues to live in the Cathedral rectory. But now, he said, there will be “a natural bond between the Cathedral and Holy Family.”

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