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Skip Navigation LinksADLA Administrative Handbook > Chapter 2 - Parish Governance > 2.2 - Parish Structures and Administrative Organization > 2.2.3 - Administration of Parishes as Both Canon and Civil Law Structures


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​​​​​​​Parishes are formed and operated under both canon and civil law; in both legal systems, they are under the care and control of the archbishop. The particular relationship between canon and civil law has been considered and is reflected in the ministerial, pastoral, educational, financial, and governance policies and procedures of the archdiocese that are set forth in this Administrative Handbook. Those policies are the principal reference points for all parish operations because the policies represent and implement the core understanding that each parish is a unique community of the faithful with parish assets belonging to the parish. Equally important is the concept that the parish itself is responsible for the well-being of its faithful, its temporal goods and financial obligations, and the stewardship of its assets, its ministries, and the pastoral history for both current and future generations. Yet the parish relationship with the archbishop remains a basic operational reality.​

The most common structure for a parish community in the archdiocese is the parish church, with its religious education and sacramental programs, an elementary school (which may have a licensed preschool program​), and a range of ministries that serve the needs and priorities of the particular parish community. A few parishes have a parish high school; some parishes have a parish-affiliated preschool. Some have responsibility for an affiliated mission church or chapel or an affiliated center, and some parishes are operated in a "twinned" or other arrangement with another parish. Some parishes do not have any preschool, elementary school, or high school. In each case, the fundamental entity is the parish church, and each of the programs, as well as the schools and any other operating entities, are responsible to and the responsibility of the pastor/administrator or the other person in charge of the parish.

​Under canon law and archdiocesan policy, each parish is to have a Parish Finan​c​e Council, a Parish Pastoral Council, and a Safeguard the Children Committee.


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