Each June, Catholics in western Oregon take interest in what priests are moving to which parish. We know this is true because our statistics show that the annual priest reassignment story is one of the most-read of the year.

We also know that our colleagues in the Archdiocese of Portland Office of Clergy Personnel spend many hours assessing needs and talents. Often, it’s like a puzzle with rather high consequences. Much prayer goes into it.

Change has never been a strong suit for us Catholics. But we urge everyone to enter into July at parishes with an open heart. Priests and parishioners alike are almost all people of good will and good sense. Great things are happening at our parishes and that will continue.

To assist with your understanding of the news, here is a glossary of reassignment terms:

Pastor — He leads the parish as an extension of the ministry of the archbishop. Pastors are to teach, sanctify and govern for the good of souls in a certain geographical area. Pastors are to have ample experience as a priest, normally five years.

Administrator — He leads the parish in the absence of a pastor. Because he does not have as much experience as a pastor, or for some other reason, he will receive help from archdiocesan authorities and his powers will be limited in areas deemed appropriate by the bishop.

Parochial vicar — He shares in the pastoral care of the parish under direction of the pastor.

Senior status — Of an age where he is no longer a full time parish priest, he helps out at parishes.

— Ed Langlois