Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 21 September |
The Feast of Saint Matthew the Apostle
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Why are some Catholic priests called “pastor”?

KSIĄDZ

Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 04/25/21

Priests are often called "pastor" to designate their role as shepherd over a local parish.

In the Catholic Church, many priests are called “pastor,” though not all priests have this official title.

The title is primarily used to denote priests that lead a local parish and are appointed by the bishop.

The Catholic Encyclopedia gives a brief explanation of a pastor’s duties.

They must preach and take care of the religious instruction of the faithful, especially of the young, supply their spiritual needs by the administration of the sacraments, reside in their parish or mission, administer diligently the property entrusted to their care, watch over the moral conduct of their parishioners, and remove, as far as possible, all hindrances to their salvation.

When the parish is too large for a single pastor, he is typically assisted in his duties by other priests.

The title “pastor” is  actually the Latin word that means “shepherd.”

Good Shepherd

The title pastor is a direct reference to the fact that all priests are called to imitate Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Pope Benedict XVI pointed this out in a homily for the ordination of priests on Good Shepherd Sunday in 2006.

Jesus now proclaims that this time has come:  he himself is the Good Shepherd through whom God himself cares for his creature, man, gathering human beings and leading them to the true pasture.

St. Peter, whom the Risen Lord charged to tend his sheep, to become a shepherd with him and for him, described Jesus as the “archipoimen” – “Chief Shepherd” (cf. I Pt 5: 4), and by this he meant that it is only possible to be a shepherd of the flock of Jesus Christ through him and in very close communion with him.

Being a pastor in the Catholic Church is a weighty task, one that requires a close relationship with Jesus in order to guide his “sheep” to eternal life.

Tags:
Catholic ChurchVocations
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
3
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
4
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
5
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
6
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
7
CHAPEL OUR LADY MIRACULOUS MEDAL
Zelda Caldwell
A pilgrimage to Paris’ Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.