How is the universal Catholic Church structured? The whole people of God is a communion of dioceses, each entrusted to the pastoral leadership and care of a bishop. The diocese is then ‘divided into distinct parts or parishes’ (Code of Canon Law, 374.1). Each parish is by nature an integral part of the diocese. What then is a deanery? ‘To foster pastoral care by means of common action, several neighbouring parishes can be joined together in special groupings, such as deaneries’ (Code of Canon Law, 374.2). Each deanery is led by a Dean appointed by the bishop to act in his name. In a scattered diocese such as ours, with many small parishes,working together in deaneries can be very fruitful, not only for the mutual support and care of the clergy, but also for pastoral and spiritual collaboration at local level.
The Dean is to ‘promote and coordinate common pastoral action’ in the deanery [Canon 555.1.1].