Attempt to be neutral on controversial subjects when it comes to matters of grammar. Do not use the word abortionist, rather use abortion doctor or abortion practitioner. (AP) Either use the term pro-life or pro-choice when describing a person’s position on this subject. These two are the most recognizable and commonly-used phrases in this debate. Do not confuse the reader with uncommon terminology.

Above and Below

Do not use the word “above” when you mean more than. The word “above” should be restricted to physical location. Example: The Frisbee flew above my head. Also, do not use the word “below” when you mean less than.


The forgiveness of a debt either by the remission of sin in the Sacrament of Penance or the lifting of a canonical penalty.

Academic Degrees

For a four-year degree, use Bachelor of Arts, bachelor’s degree or BA. For a graduate degree, use Master of Arts, master’s degree or MA. For a doctoral certificate, use PhD. In a sentence, use Allison has a doctorate in biology rather than Allison has a PhD in biology. Periods between letters are not necessary for BA, MA or PhD.


A "quality assurance" process conducted by an external team of peers based on an internal study submitted by the school. This process determines the degree a school adheres to standards set by an accrediting agency who then grants "accreditation" status for meeting or exceeding said standards.


Any layman who serves the Mass or who assists at other church services.

Ad hoc Committee

A committee established for a specific purpose or special activity. It usually disbands when its purpose is accomplished.

Ad Limina

The abbreviated form the Latin phrase ad limina Apostolorum is translated, "to the thresholds of the apostles." It describes the quinquennial (five-year) reports that all bishops and military vicars are required to make to the Holy See.


In a sentence, the correct way to abbreviate Michigan is with Mich. Reserve the postal abbreviation, MI, for addressing a letter. Zip codes should be restricted to the first five numbers. When there is a street number address, abbreviate street or avenue. If none, spell it out.

Addresses Mile Roads

When writing an address that contains a mile road, please use standard numbering conventions. For nine and below, spell out the street name. Example: 821 E. Nine Mile Rd. For 10 and above, use numbers. Example: 307 W. 10 Mile Rd. Please separate the address and the mile road using an east or west indicator. In the city of Detroit, the east-west dividing line is John R Road. North of Eight Mile Road, good luck. If you need help, check Google Maps.

Administration of ecclesiastical goods

This includes transactions involved in acquiring and managing temporal goods. Ordinary administration involves day-to-day operations that do not require special permission. There is an intermediate level called acts of greater importance. These acts significantly impact the parish finances and administration. Then there are acts of extraordinary administration that are unique, infrequent, and not only impact parish finances and administration, but affect parish life. Statutes express limits and procedures for the authorization of acts of greater importance and extraordinary acts of administration.


One who is officially appointed for a temporary period to perform the duties of the person holding the permanent office. An administrator may be assigned by the archbishop to oversee the pastoral care of a parish without a pastor, or while the pastor is unable to fulfill the functions of the office.

Adoration, Perpetual

The practice of continuous exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, usually in the monstrance, for the purposes of uninterrupted vigil and adoration on the part of the faithful.

Affect Effect

Affect is used as a verb and means, “to influence.” Effect is a noun that means, “the result.” Do not interchange them.


Use figures for the ages of people and animals, including ages under 10. Example: a 4-year-old girl and a dog that is 7 years-old. For the age of inanimate objects, spell out numbers under 10. Hyphenate compound adjectives.


A long, white garment that can be used by all liturgical ministers. It is a reminder of the baptismal garment worn when the new Christian "puts on Christ."


In broad terms, a transaction that results in the Church losing control of its goods. The most common instance of alienation involves the transfer of title to Church property. As a means of ensuring that decisions to alienate property are made with the appropriate amount of deliberation, Church law requires the consent of consultative bodies at the parish and archdiocesan levels to complete the transaction.


Alternate student assessment

Combines traditional grading with a student's portfolio to show learning outcomes.


A place where scriptures are proclaimed and homilies may be preached. It is a main focal point of the church and a lector stands at or behind it when reading aloud. Also referred to as a pulpit.


A recess that holds the holy oils that are blessed and consecrated at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week.


A Hebrew word of assent found in the Old and New Testaments, generally left untranslated but meaning "So be it," "Truly," "Certainly," or even, "I do believe."


Never use an ampersand in place of the word “and” unless it’s part of a proper name such as Proctor & Gamble.


Archdiocese of Detroit



Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, a consultative body to the Archbishop in fulfilling his pastoral office made up of laity, clergy and religious.


APC Representative

A lay person appointed or selected by the Vicar to participate on the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council for the Vicariate. This individual is expected to fulfill the APC requirements related to term of office, attendance and participation for the period of the appointment.



"The one sent." This normally refers to the 12 men chosen by Jesus to be the bearers of his teachings to the world. They are:

  • Simon, renamed Peter
  • Andrew
  • Bartholomew
  • James the Greater
  • James the Lesser
  • John
  • Judas Iscariot
  • Matthew
  • Matthias - was chosen to fill the place of Judas
  • Philip
  • Simon the Zealot
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas


Referring to the 12 Apostles. It also characterizes certain documents, appointments, or structures initiated by the Pope or the Holy See.


Title of a bishop with jurisdiction over an archdiocese, which is the principal see of an region; he has certain limited supervisory jurisdiction over the other dioceses in his province. In the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron serves in this capacity, overseeing parishes in the counties of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair and Lapeer.

Archdiocesan Christian Service Advisory Committee

The Archdiocesan Christian Service Advisory Committee advises the Department of Parish Life and Services. The committee's input affects the department's direction in programming.

The committee represents key Christian Service Coordinators in parishes, central service staff that represent disabilities, parish nurses, Catholic Social Teaching, criminal justice and Catholic social action.

The committee also helps plan numerous annual events for Christian Service Coordinators, whose job it is to administer the goals of the Archdiocese of Detroit directly to parishes.

Members plan and provide training, educational topics, networking opportunities and materials that strengthen the skills and abilities of Christian Service Coordinators.

Archdiocesan Pastoral Council or APC

The primary lay – or non-clergy and non-religious – consultative group to the Archbishop of Detroit. Since its establishment in 1973, the APC has assisted the archbishop in planning and goal-setting for the archdiocese.

  • Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Members


A territory of the Church governed by an archbishop. It is the primary see of an ecclesiastical province having one or more other dioceses.


This word and its derivatives should always be lowercase except when used in a proper name such as Archdiocese of Detroit or the Detroit Archdiocese. (16)


Do not use the word around to say that one thing is near another. Example: The Mass will start around 5 p.m. Instead, write, The Mass will start at about 5 p.m. The same example can be used for money. Example: That vase costs around $350. Instead, write: That vase costs about $350.


Liturgical instrument used for the sprinkling of holy water.

Associate Pastor

A priest who assists the pastor in the pastoral care of a parish or parishes.

Auxiliary Bishop

A bishop assigned to assist a diocesan bishop in the administrative and pastoral care of the a diocese. "Auxiliary" refers to jurisdiction, not to sacramental ordination. A man may be named an auxiliary bishop, but he is ordained a bishop.

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Balance Sheet

A financial statement prepared to show the assets, liabilities and fund balance of an entity on a specific date. Parishes and schools use a modified cash basis accounting, and include only the following accounts on the balance sheet: Parish Central Checking, Payroll Checking (if applicable) and Payroll Liabilities. Cemeteries use the accrual basis of accounting, and, as such, must include all necessary asset, liability and equity accounts on their balance sheets, including all checking accounts, Loan Deposit Program accounts, accounts receivables, land, buildings, and other fixed assets (at original cost), accounts payables, retained earnings, and net income/loss for the current fiscally

Baptismal Font

A receptacle for water that is used in the sacrament of baptism.


Any person named in a will, trust, insurance policy, or other arrangement to receive money or property at the death of the owner or insured. Includes trust and charitable institutions so named.


A gift to an individual, the Church or charitable organization named in your will or trust.


Refer to the New American Bible. Capitalize it except when referring to the general term. Example: The Wall Street Journal is his bible. (23) For rules on abbreviations and end notes, reference the book for guidance.


Follow the guidelines of Modern Language Association or Chicago Manual of Style.


From the Greek word meaning "overseer," a bishop is a supreme, divinely instituted member of the Church hierarchy. He has received the highest of the holy orders, is invested with the authority to govern a diocese, and is a successor of the Apostles. Bishops are responsible directly to the Pope for the affairs of their diocese.

Blessed Sacrament

The consecrated bread and wine when they become the Body and Blood of Christ. The Blessed Sacrament is perpetually reserved in Catholic churches in a prominent place, marked by a burning sanctuary lamp. This is a test.


Never use bold in body copy. On the web, reserve it for story headlines and subheads. Use it sparingly. Formatting is not transferred from Microsoft Word. It’s coded with HTML.


A free-form generation and sharing of ideas used in the beginning of a group decision. 


A metal pan used to hold incense.

Bullet point list

It is common to end each item in a list with a period. But sometimes no period is needed. Overall, be consistent. If you’re writing a complete sentence, use a period. If you’re writing a fragment, do not use a period. You should not capitalize every word, rather treat each item as a normal sentence.

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A person in the RCIA process who has been baptized in another Christian Tradition and is now seeking to come into full communion with the Catholic Church is called a candidate.


Greek for "rule" or "measure." Refers to a law of the Church or a doctrinal formula of a council or synod. The canon of Scripture comprises books of the Bible received in the Church as authentically inspired and normative for the Faith.

Canon Law

The name given to the official body of laws by which the Church is governed. The current code was promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1983.


The one who leads the congregation in singing the music within the liturgy in a prayerful way.


Special care should be taken when considering words to capitalize. You’ll find many other rules for capitalizing throughout this guide. Never use all uppercase letters. For headlines on the web, use title case. That means, capitalize all words with the exception of:
  • Articles (a, an and the)
  • Prepositions with less than three letters (of, in and for)
  • Conjunctions with less than three letters (as, and, or and but)
For body copy, simply capitalize the first word of the sentence and then refer to this guide and the noted reference materials for guidance on what words to capitalize. Titles are handled by the CNS guide under “Religious Titles” (195) and in this document under “Titles.”


Cardinals are the highest-ranking prelates below the Pope himself. They are appointed by the Pope to assist him through the College of Cardinals with questions of major importance and, individually, in the daily care of the universal Church. When a Pope dies, the College of Cardinals sits in a conclave to elect the next Pontiff.

Cash Value

Internal value of a whole life insurance policy based on net premiums paid and insurance company net investment earnings.


A long, black garment worn by altar servers under the surplice; also worn by diocesan priests (black), monsignors (rose), bishops (violet), cardinals (red), and the Pope (white).


Religious instruction and formation for those preparing for baptism and for the faithful in all stages of spiritual development. It is a lifelong process of conversion.


A person who teaches catechesis. The main catechist at each parish is known either as the Director of Religious Education (DRE) or Parish Catechetical Leader (PCL).


Unbaptized adult or child preparing for the sacrament of initiation through the RCIA process.


Individuals being taught the elements of the Catholic faith.


The archbishop's chair, the symbol of his role of chief teacher and pastor of the local church.


From "cathedra," literally, chair of the bishop. The official church of a bishop who has jurisdiction over a diocese is the cathedral. It is located within the diocese, generally in the see city in which the bishop exercises his authority and conducts worship for all under his jurisdiction.


The mother church of the Archdiocese of Detroit should be called Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Do not use any other forms such as Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.


Capitalize it when referring to the denomination. (33)

Catholic Church

Always capitalize the phrase. It refers to the “worldwide body of followers of Christ…” (35)

Catholic Teaching

That which the Pope or the College of Bishops enunciate on faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, or "teaching office," of the Church. The appropriate response of the Christian faithful is a healthy respect for and acceptance of sound teaching in the Church. The principle of the pursuit of truth and the primacy of conscience, however, are still in play because teachings are included which are not infallible. (Comm. on Code 752)


Bishop, priest, or deacon who presides at a liturgical function.


Harsh penalties in Church law, applied with the hope that the offender will recant his or her position or decision. Penalties include suspension (for clerics), interdict and excommunication.

Centered On

Never use the phrase centered around. It’s not logical. Instead, use either centered on or revolves around.


Students move from station to station specific activities related to the lesson.


The aspect of the Archdiocese of Detroit that connects and provides resources, programming and planning to the area’s parishes, schools and institutions. It includes the Archbishop’s office and provides services for education, religious education, finance, properties, parish services, communications, archives, canon law, and worship. In a sense it can be called the “headquarters” of the Archdiocese. The administrative offices are situated in downtown Detroit in the Chancery Building.


A person who ensures effective communication, maximum participation and full consideration of issues during a meeting. 


The large cup used to hold the wine that becomes the Blood of Christ.


Appointed in accord with canon law by the bishop of a diocese, the chancellor serves as an ecclesiastical notary. The chancellor's duties include the supervision of the diocesan archives, the authentication of documents, and the drawing up of written reports on the official government of the diocese.


A term commonly used in some countries (the United States included) for the diocesan administrative offices.


Any small place of worship that may (but need not) house the relics or mementos of martyrs or saints.

Charitable Lead Trust

An irrevocable trust that distributes income to the Church or charity for a period of years and, when the trust ends, distributes the remaining property to a person or other named beneficiaries.

Charitable Remainder Trust

An irrevocable trust that distributes income to you or other named individual beneficiaries for life or a term of years and, when the trust ends, distributes the remaining property to the Church or charity.


From the Latin for "little house," the chasuble is the outer liturgical vestment worn by the celebrant at Mass. Its color changes according to the feast or liturgical season:

  • Green: Ordinary Time
  • Red: Passion (Palm) Sunday, Pentecost, and on the feast days of martyrs including the Apostles and Evangelists
  • White: Christmas and Easter seasons; on the celebrations of Mary, the angels, saints who were not martyrs' the feasts of All Saints, Birth of John the Baptist, Chair of St. Peter, Conversion of Paul, and St. John the Evangelist
  • Violet: Advent and Lent
  • Rose: Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) and Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)


Mixture of olive or other vegetable oil and balsam, consecrated by a bishop, for use in liturgical anointings at Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, the blessing of an altar, or, in former days, the coronation of a king. At the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, a bishop consecrates the holy chrism as well as the oil of the catechumens and the oil of the infirm.

Christian Service Advisory Committee

The Christian Service Advisory Committee advises the Archdiocese of Detroit in the areas of disabilities, pastoral care to the sick, and parish based Christian service outreach. The committee also helps plan numerous events for Christian Service Coordinators. Members plan and provide training, educational topics, networking opportunities and materials that strengthen the skills and abilities of Christian Service Coordinators.

Christian Service Commission

The Christian Service Commission exists as a model and resource of Catholic social teaching to enable the entire parish communion to put the social teaching of the church into action. The commission empowers the members of the parish to fulfill the church's mission of love, justice, freedom and peace under the mantle of evangelization by communally responding, in an organized way, to societal and individual needs. The commission creates and promotes programs that address human needs and achieve justice, whether locally or in the broader communities of vicariate, region, archdiocese, state, nation and world.

Functions of the Commission

Maintain a close working relationship with, and coordinate the efforts of, all parish social ministry organizations to maintain the strength of individual organizations within the effectiveness of the whole. Engage Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan and other archdiocesan charities, organizations and institutions, as well as other local community resources when appropriate and, when necessary, after consultation with pastor/vicar.
Coordinate parish response to national Catholic action for justice programs, e.g., Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Campaign for Human Development and others designated by the archdiocesan Department of Parish Life and Services. Provide within the Christian service budget a model of good stewardship and, within the social ministry goals and objectives, a functional model that takes into account parish, community and global outreach.
Educate the members of the commission regarding Catholic social teaching. Gather and share accurate information about human needs in the parish and total community.
Gather and share accurate information about service and service providers in the area. Evaluate and report on Christian service in response to changing community needs.
Make parishioners aware of action needed to resolve human needs and achieve justice and human dignity. Provide information to the parish and staff concerning opportunities that address justice and life issues.
Maintain effective communication and strong working relationships with the pastoral staff, Parish Pastoral Council commissions and the archdiocesan offices. Continually increase the number and variety of parishioners involved directly with Christian service.
Work with the parish pastoral leadership in discerning how to respond to the needs of the poor and vulnerable throughout the area and, especially, within the parish boundaries. Support existing social ministry programs that adequately meet the needs of the parish and community, linking with other parishes and community groups whenever possible.
Develop and implement parish social ministry programs to address needs not met by parish or community programs. Develop and help implement, in concert with community service providers, necessary programs that are beyond the resources of the individual parish.
Provide training for volunteers in social ministry activities. Develop new social ministry leadership among lay people of the parish communion.

Christian Service Committees

Members of the following committees come together to form the Christian Service Commission, which serves as a leader for ministry in every parish.

Disability Concerns

The committee serves as an advocate for full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the life of the parish. Members assist the pastor, pastoral staff, parish leadership and parishioners in ministring to those with disabilities. It’s the job of the committee to help identify those in need, to inform the parish of any special needs for the individual, develop steps to administer certain standards in the parish, welcome the disabled into the Church as well as refer them to other agencies within the archdiocese. Each year in September, the committee holds a Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit.

Health Advocacy

The Health Advocacy Committee is organized to search out health resources in the local community, seek out information regarding the health needs of the members of the parish and mobilize parish resources to care for those health needs.

The committee includes a parish nurse, parishioners involved in serving the sick, homebound, elderly or otherwise in need, and individuals interested in health concerns.

Justice and Peace

The Justice and Peace Committee is charged with fostering and promoting a faith-based social action agenda through the life of the parish relying on the tradition of Catholic Social Teachings.

The committee promotes a social gospel into every parish, develops steps to administer standards, engrains concepts of social justice into parish life, creates a network for promoting justice and peace in the archdiocese, works with community organizers and identifies events for parishioners to take action.

Life Issues

The Life Issues Committee is charged with enlivening the parish response to the universal respect and dignity appropriate to all human life.

The committee creates standards for parishes set forth in their mission statement, provides background information to parish groups on life issues, addresses issues that impact the dignity for human life, encourages parishioners to get involved in pro-life legislative issues and work with other community organizations with similar goals.

Legislative Advocacy

The Legislative Concerns Committee encourages the parish to respond within the local, state and national public policy debate using Catholic Social Teaching as the basis for legislative critique.

Parish Services

The Parish Services Committee exists to facilitate the parish response of support, hospitality, resources and condolences for people in need.

The committee maintains a local outreach program for the poor, homeless and vulnerable people within the parish, supports parishioners in times of joy and sorrow, works with other parishes and vicariates to share services and works to accomplish goals of the group’s mission statement. The committee supports home and hospital visitors, funeral lunch providers, St. Vincent de Paul Society, meals for the homebound, food pantries, clothes closets, eldercare and others.

Christian Service Coordinator

The responsibility of the Christian Service Coordinator is to ensure a full response to Catholic Social Teaching through direct services of human need in the parish and beyond. The coordinator promotes and coordinates actions that eliminate the cause of human need in our society. 

Christian Service Vision and programming

Archdiocesan Programming

  • Attend Christian Service Events
  • Join the Christian Service Coordinators' Association
  • Christian Service Advisory Committee

Parish Programming

  • Christian Service Commission
  • Christian Service Committees


Responsibilities include
Provide the parish with the awareness of human needs and the means to respond to those needs. Provide ongoing education and formation to parishioners in the areas of Catholic Social Teaching.
Prepare and maintain the annual budget for Christian Service Ministries. Develop and/or maintain liaison with the service commission of the Pastoral Council.
In collaboration with the Christian Service Commission
Identify needs, and encourage broad parish participation in response to those needs. Provide opportunities for commission growth and leadership.
Serve as liaison between the commission and other groups such as: parish staff, archdiocesan staff, Catholic Social Services, other human service agencies and community groups. Maintain professional competency by applying for certification as a Christian Service Coordinator and continuing education and formation through regular attendance at workshops and seminars.
Coordinate the recruitment, training and support of Christian Service volunteers.

The Coordinator is a professional staff person rooted in Catholic Social Teaching and dedicated to carrying out the social mission of the Church.

Christian Service Ministry

The Christian Service Ministry is in place to help parishioners put their faith into action. The ministry works toward a set of goals that include:

Social Justice Accessibility
Evangelization Life Issues

Part of the ministry's mission is to also ensure that every parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit has an active and robust Christian Service Commission working toward the goals of the greater Catholic Church. The Christian Service Coordinator serves as a liaison between the main offices of the archdiocese and the faithful.

The Christian Service Commission is made up of several committees focused on certain goals of the ministry, such as disability concerns and legislative advocacy.


“Do not capitalize it unless it is used as part of the formal name of a building, a congregation or denomination.” (48) “Lowercase church when it is used in an institutional or general theological sense: The church is the people of God.” (49)


A vessel used to hold the hosts which will be used for communion. Some are cup-like and others are bowl- or plate-like. They are also used to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.

Classroom Workshops

Students have designated time to accomplish class requirements.


A canonical declaration by the archbishop in conjunction with the priests' council that a parish ceases to exist. In canon/Church law parlance, a closure is referred to as a “suppression.” So if a parish is “suppressed,” that means it’s been closed.


A cluster refers to two or more parishes that share a single pastor and oftentimes a single set of administrative resources and personnel (bookkeeper, grounds keeper, religious education teachers, etc.). Also used as a verb, e.g. “St. Mary and St. Joseph will make plans to cluster in 2014.” Parishes that are “clustered” have independent finances.


A cluster refers to two or more parishes that share a single pastor and oftentimes a single set of administrative resources and personnel (bookkeeper, grounds keeper, religious education teachers, etc.). Also used as a verb, e.g. “St. Mary and St. Joseph will make plans to cluster in 2014.” Parishes that are “clustered” have independent finances.

Cluster Partners

Two or more parishes which would cluster when the need becomes evident – for example, upon the reassignment, retirement or death of a pastor; or, when a parish runs an operating deficit.

Coadjutor Bishop

A bishop assigned by the Holy See to assist the residential bishop. Upon the death, retirement, or removal of the residential bishop, the coadjutor automatically becomes the residential bishop.

Code of Canon Law

Law enacted and promulgated by the Pope for the orderly pastoral administration and government of the Church. The revised Code, effective November 27, 1983, consists of 1,752 Canons in seven books. Also called universal or Church law.


A document modifying and becoming an integral part of an existing will.

Collaboration Partners

Neighboring parishes that collaborate on ministries and other resources.


The process of planning, establishing and operating together to achieve a common goal or purpose. Through this process, parish commissions and committees explore different options, and search for solutions that go beyond what can be done do on their own. In the Church, the basis for collaboration is the belief that every baptized person is gifted and called to ministry. According to Sofield and Juliano (Collaborative Ministry, Ave Maria Press, 1987, p. 11), collaboration is the identification, release and union of the gifts of all baptized persons. 

College of Consultors

A consultative group, established by the Archbishop to assist him in managing the temporal goods of the Archdiocese and certain parish transactions. The College of Consultors is comprised of at least six, and no more than 12, priests who belong to the Presbyteral Council. They are appointed to a five-year term and are responsible for the functions determined by the law.. The group helps the Archbishop manage goods belonging to the Archdiocese and is an organism specifically designed to carry out certain functions specified in law, dealing mostly with financial and administrative matters. (Canon 502) 


Working as a body with a common purpose or common duties. Quality of authority or power is shared equally among colleagues; union apparent in the mutual relations among members of a group as they assume responsibility for the common good. 


In a sentence, such as this, commas come in pairs. If “such as this” were deleted, the last sentence still reads correctly.However, commas can be used at the beginning of a sentence to note an aside to the reader. Similarly, the last sentence reads clearly without the word “however.” Refer to the rules from Strunk and White. The following example is an excerpt:
Rule 3) Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas. [Example]: The best way to see a country, unless you are pressed for time, is to travel on foot.
Commas are also used when making lists, between titles and within dates. A little practice goes a long way. See below:
Rule 2) In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last. Thus write: red, white and blue.


Working group of the Parish Pastoral Council that meets on a regular basis to assess the needs of the parish, develop objectives and implement programs through committee work.


A subgroup of a Council or Commission, charged with the responsibility for a specific area within a Commission's or Council's mandate. A set of individuals who have been selected or appointed with the understanding of working to accomplish a specific goal or objectives.


Persons sharing one same life, an organic unity. Our "communion" as Church flows from and mirrors the Trinitarian communion, the model and source of giving and receiving. Since "communion" can be translated as "sharing gifts," it is an excellent description of our identity and vocation as Church.


A group of people living in a particular local area, often having common goals and interests, and ethnic, cultural or religious characteristics.


Community Immigration Legal Services

The Archdiocese of Detroit has closed Community Immigration Legal Services. Former clients that have questions about their case files may contact (313) 596-7149.


The priests and bishops who join the main celebrant in celebrating Mass.


The enclosed meeting of the cardinals of the Church for the purpose of electing a Pope.


In the Catholic context, confession occurs in the Sacrament of Penance, in which one reveals one's sins to a priest who grants absolution when there is true repentance.


The Words of Institution in the Eucharistic Prayer, by which bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ.


The process of arriving at a decision through open discussion and resolution of major discrepancies. Without compromising any strong conviction or needs, consensus results in a decision that all members of the group can accept and uphold.

Consent of a council

A positive vote expressed by a majority of the councilors. This consent is sometimes called a deliberative vote. In contrast, “hearing the council” requires that those belonging to a council at least be consulted before action is taken.


A process of shared decisionmaking. Canon 127 establishes the seriousness of the consultative process. According to this Canon, if Church law requires consultation, then the group to be consulted must be legitimately convoked. At least a majority of the members must be consulted. If consultation is required with certain persons or individuals, the Pastor is required to listen to such persons and ordinarily not act contrary to their advice, especially if consensus is achieved. 

Consultative Body

A group that seeks to arrive at a consensual agreement on significant issues in order to develop policy recommendations for the spiritual growth and pastoral activity of the Archdiocese, vicariate or parish. The recommendations of the Consultative Body are to deal with general policies and not with administrative detail. 

Contingent or Secondary Beneficiary

Person (or group of persons) named in an insurance policy, retirement plan or other arrangement that will receive the proceeds if the primary beneficiary is not living or in existence at the death of the owner or insured. Includes trusts and charitable institutions so named.


Working or acting together toward a common end or purpose. 


To harmonize in a common effort. To work together. 


A body of advisors whose role is to assist those in governing offices. Depending on the circumstances, consent or counsel may be required before making a decision, which will be expressed in the statutes or governing rules of the council.


An object is a crucifix only if it depicts Christ on the cross; otherwise, it is a cross.


Catholic Services Appeal, an annual initiative for funds to provide ministries and programs that affect the lives of every Catholic in Southeast Michigan through the Central Services departments of Communications; Development and Stewardship; Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools; and Parish Life and Services; as well as the Office of Priestly Vocations, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and the Metropolitan Tribunal. 

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There is a difference between a hyphen and a dash. The em dash [Keystroke: Alt+0151] is used like a very strong comma to break off an aside to the reader. The en dash [Keystroke: Alt+0150] is used in a span in place of the word, to. Here’s an example of an en dash: February–September 2005. There should be no space on either side of a dash. Also, refer to the section called “Hyphen.”


When writing an exact date abbreviate the month. Such as: Oct. 31, 2011. March, April, May, June and July should never be abbreviated, however. If no date is needed, then use this format: October 2011. Notice, there is no comma. Also, dates should never be followed by superscript such as st, nd, rd, or th like in this example, Feb. 14th. Refer to the directories and tables section for more information.


There are two kinds of deacons: transitional and permanent. Transitional deacons are men who have been ordained to the diaconate but who will ultimately be ordained to the priesthood. Permanent deacons are men who have been ordained to the diaconate and who will remain deacons. The permanent diaconate was reestablished in 1967 and is open to single and married men.


The formal discussion and debate of all sides of an issue. The act or process of consulting with others in reaching a decision. 

Diocesan Bishop

Bishop to whom the care of a diocese has been entrusted. The Diocesan Bishop's office has a threefold range -- teaching, sanctifying and governing. (Canon 376-381) 


A territorial division of the Church comprised of all the Catholics living in a specific geographic region under the pastoral care and authority of a bishop.


Referring to direction on a compass, use one word: northwest or southeast. It is always lowercase. Write southeast Michigan, except when used in a proper name like Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

Director of Religious Education (DRE) or Parish Catechetical Leader (PCL)

Director of Religious Education (DRE) is the person at a parish in charge of faith formation or catechesis. The person is also referred to as a Parish Catechetical Leader (PCL) in some parishes. 

Disability Concerns Committee

The committee serves as an advocate for full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the life of the parish. Members assist the pastor, pastoral staff, parish leadership and parishioners in ministring to those with disabilities. It’s the job of the committee to help identify those in need, to inform the parish of any special needs for the individual, develop steps to administer certain standards in the parish, welcome the disabled into the Church as well as refer them to other agencies within the archdiocese. Each year in September, the committee holds a Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit.


The process of arriving at a decision in accord with God's will through prayerful reflection and deliberation. Communal discernment is related to consensus but adds the following dimensions to the consensus process: Prayerful reflection, gathering of evidence, discussion of positive and negative factors of proposed alternative plans of action, and confirmation by the group.

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church

The centerpiece of Vatican II. Begins with a view of Church as Mystery, as the communion of men and women called together into participation in the life of the Triune God. 

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For Spanish body copy you may need to use the e with an acute accent mark. For lowercase [Keystroke Alt+0233]. For the capital letter [Keystroke Alt+0201].


Refer to what is proper to the Church. Hence, there is ecclesiastical property, ecclesiastical law, ecclesiastical hierarchy, ecclesiastical discipline, and so forth.


Pertaining to or connected to the Church.


A selection by vote for an office or for membership. 


There is no need for a hyphen. Always lowercase.

Email Addresses

The preferred format is lowercase in all usage such as: infodesk@aod.org


To free people to be true to their own thoughts and feelings, to give them the opportunity to think these through, and to help them feel valued within the group. 


The highest form of papal teaching document, generally addressed to all the bishops and/or all the faithful.

Endowment Foundation

Launched in 1993, the Stewards for Tomorrow fundraising campaign established the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation. Investment income from the endowment continues to provide important annual financial support for Catholic school students, seminarians, students preparing for lay ministry, retired priests, and others.

Endowment Fund

A growing account, the principal of which is left intact, while interest and earnings are used on an annual basis to fund the needs of an organization. 


All the property one owns or has interest in, less the liabilities owed.


The sacrament of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ really, truly and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine. The Holy Eucharist is the primary act of worship of the Catholic Church in which Christ perpetuates the sacrifice of the cross; the Church, in turn, offers herself with Jesus to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit.


A process of measuring and judging progress according to accepted standards. The Parish Mission Statement is the yardstick by which evaluation is made.


The teaching or spreading of the Gospel message and all those activities by which every member of the Church proclaims and presents to the world the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every Christian is given the responsibility by Christ to evangelize; the Archdiocese and many of its parishes have various formal plans, departments and committees dedicated to evangelization.

Ex Officio

Membership on certain bodies does not depend on election, and is sometimes based on a person’s office or role. A priest who has been appointed associate pastor in a parish automatically becomes a member of the parish’s Finance Council because of his position.

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In the context of Together In Faith, these are people who give structure to the meetings of the parish Planning Groups. Facilitators are coordinated by the Archdiocese.

Faith Formation

Often used interchangeably with "religious education" or "catechesis," it refers to everything that contributes to a person's growth in faith and intimacy with Jesus Christ: evangelization, religious instruction, liturgy, faith sharing, personal prayer, life experiences, etc.


The law of fasting binds persons from the completion of their 18th year to the beginning of their 60th year, i.e., from the day after their 18th birthday to the day after their 59th birthday.

The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening, observing as far as quantity and quality are concerned, approved local custom. The order of meals is optional; i.e., the full meal may be taken in the evening instead of at midday. Also: 1) The quantity of food taken at the two lighter meals should not exceed the quantity taken at the full meal; 2) The drinking of ordinary liquids does not break the fast.

File Naming

When naming a file for use on the website, please adhere to a few formal rules. Never use spaces within the name. If using a date for a version reference, please use the following format for May 5, 2011: myfile110506.pdf. This is especially helpful if your file is updated regularly.

Financial Statement

Formal report of the financial activity of an entity (parish, school, cemetery, parish organization, etc.), detailing financial transactions or summarizing the financial status of a parish for a particular period of time. Also referred to as a Financial Report. These reports for parishes/schools generally consist of a Balance Sheet and an Income Statement (or Statement of Receipts and Disbursements). 

Fiscal Year

The year used to report financial activity for a parish, cemetery, or organization. The Archdiocese of Detroit fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.

Foreign Language

Do not use words or phrases of a foreign language unless they are already commonly used in English, such as aficionado. If you must use a foreign word or phrase, use italics. Example: quid pro quo.


Making the Catholic faith real through prayer, study/reflection/sharing, action, and evaluation.



A member of one of the mendicant orders founded since the thirteenth century, for example, the Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites.

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Ancient hymn of praise in which the Church glorifies God. It is used on all Sundays except for those during Advent and Lent. The text originates from the Christmas narrative in the Gospel of Luke: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:14)


Statement of a desired end that reflects an overall purpose and is related to a major area of concern. Goals need to be written in specific and challenging terms so they are recognizable when achieved. A goal usually has a terminal point of three to five years and its achievement is recognizable when it has been reached. Goals are reviewed annually.


In reference to God or Jesus, do not capitalize personal pronouns such as he or him. Please refer to the sections on “God” (93) and “Jesus” (116).


The individual who establishes a trust.


A statement of policy or procedure that clarifies how the directives are to be applied and observed.


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Health Advocacy Committee

The Health Advocacy Committee is organized to search out health resources in the local community, seek out information regarding the health needs of the members of the parish and mobilize parish resources to care for those health needs.

The committee includes a parish nurse, parishioners involved in serving the sick, homebound, elderly or otherwise in need, and individuals interested in health concerns.

Holy See

The residence of the Pope and the center of the administrative offices of the Church. The Holy See has its headquarters in Vatican City and is composed of a host of departments. The mission of the Holy See is to carry on the spiritual and moral authority as exercised by the Pontiff.

Holy Water

Water blessed and used for Baptisms and in the blessing of religious articles, homes, and other items.


A reflection by the celebrant or other minister on the Scripture readings and on the applications of the texts in the daily lives of the assembled community.


The bread that is used at Mass is only the Host after the consecration and in the view of its consummation at Holy Communion.


A hyphen should be used between two or more words that join together to modify a noun. For instance: a 10-pound weight or a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman. These are known as compound adjectives. Do not use a hyphen when two words would be better as one, such as: e-mail, email.

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In solidum care of parishes

In some situations, care is provided for neighboring parishes through a team of priests, called in solidum. Those priests share responsibilities, with a priest-moderator representing and leading the parishes. While each parish remains independent, parishioners relate to the team of priests for their pastoral care.


To involve as part of the whole, regardless of gender, race or physical appearance. 

Income Statements

A financial statement for accrual basis entities (i.e. cemeteries) that summarizes the revenues received and expenses paid by a cemetery over a specific period of time. 


Always capitalize it.


An action, or set of actions, that aim to improve the function of a group. Can be of a process or content nature.


Having no valid will at death. Property in intestacy is distributed according to state law.

It's vs. Its

The word it’s is a contraction for it is. In all other cases, use its. Never use an apostrophe to make it possessive.

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Justice and Peace Committee

The Justice and Peace Committee is charged with fostering and promoting a faith-based social action agenda through the life of the parish relying on the tradition of Catholic Social Teachings.

The committee promotes a social gospel into every parish, develops steps to administer standards, engrains concepts of social justice into parish life, creates a network for promoting justice and peace in the archdiocese, works with community organizers and identifies events for parishioners to take action.

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The canonical process whereby a cleric is returned to the lay state.


Men and women who are the people of God through sacramental initiation. In their own way, they share in the priestly, prophetic, and pastoral roles of Jesus, and exercise these functions within the Church under the guidance of duly appointed pastors, bishops and/or priests. They also carry on the four-fold mission of Jesus in their daily lives, particularly through their family, the “domestic church.”

Lay Leadership

Parish leadership by those who are not ordained ministers. Lay people – sometimes called “the laity” – are heavily involved in the Together In Faith process, as parishes are represented in the process by lay leaders as opposed to priests.


Loan Deposit Program set up by the Archdiocese of Detroit to be used by parishes, schools, cemeteries and organizations within its boundaries for all savings and loan activities. 


The book of Scripture readings used during the Liturgy of the Word in Mass.

Legislative Advocacy Committee

The Legislative Concerns Committee encourages the parish to respond within the local, state and national public policy debate using Catholic Social Teaching as the basis for legislative critique.

Life Issues Committee

The Life Issues Committee is charged with enlivening the parish response to the universal respect and dignity appropriate to all human life.

The committee creates standards for parishes set forth in their mission statement, provides background information to parish groups on life issues, addresses issues that impact the dignity for human life, encourages parishioners to get involved in pro-life legislative issues and work with other community organizations with similar goals.


The public worship of the Church, including the rites and ceremonies of the Mass and sacraments.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

The section of Mass when the gifts of bread and wine are prepared, the Eucharistic Prayer is proclaimed by the celebrant, and the Blessed Sacrament is distributed to the assembly.

Liturgy of the Word

The section of the Mass when readings from the Scriptures are proclaimed and reflected upon.


Should be lowercase. Refer to the section called “Jesus,” which has extensive information on the topic (116).

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Magisterium of the Church

The Church's teaching authority, instituted by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, which seeks to safeguard and explain the truths of the faith.


Children use cubes, pattern blocks and concrete items to learn math.


The common name for the Eucharistic liturgy of the Catholic Church, the principal celebration of the Church's public worship.


Capitalize it in all usage. “The priest celebrates or says Mass. He does not read, recite, conduct or perform it.” (142)

Master Catechists

Master Catechists are approved to teach all 27 Catechist Formation Topics. Master Catechist Interns (as indicated by an asterisk *) are working under the direction of a Master Catechist to complete the internship process.


To settle or resolve issues by acting as the intermediary between two or more opposing parties. 


Two parishes coming together to form a single parish with a single pastor, combining both their finances and parish councils. Oftentimes, when parishes merge, they take on a new name and begin as a new parish. Fewer worship sites may result.

Metropolitan Tribunal

The Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Detroit is established by Church law to assist the archbishop in carrying out his judicial functions. The major portion of the work is directed toward the processing of petitions for annulment of marriages. Other judicial matters are handled at the request of the archbishop.

Approximately 1,000 requests for formal annulment cases are presented annually. In addition, some 900 cases of various types are received the by the tribunal for summary decisions. In obtaining testimony, the tribunal reaches approximately 15,000 people annually, many of whom are non-Catholics. For these people, the tribunal contact may be their first in-depth interaction with the Catholic Church.

The structure and operation of the tribunal is determined by the 1983 Code of Canon Law. A permanent staff of 18 is supplemented by priests, deacons and lay people who assist in tribunal work, part-time.

The tribunal staff undertakes various educational commitments and assists other departments in the archdiocese with educational programs and by responding to inquiries on canonical matters.


Lowercase the first word in state of Michigan. Refer to the “Addresses” section for information on abbreviations.


Literally, a "service." Any service publicly designated by the Church to assist in the fulfillment of its mission. 


That for which the Church has been “sent"; i.e., its purpose: to proclaim the Gospel in word, in sacrament, in witness, and in service.

Mission Statement

A broad statement that expresses the reason or purpose for the existence of a group. It unifies, motivates and clarifies. It answers the questions: What are we called to be? Why do we exist? What should we be about?

Mitre (or Miter)

The liturgical headdress proper to all bishops of the Latin Rite, including the Pope.

Moderator of the Curia

An administrative office for the coordination and supervision of offices and personnel of the diocesan curia. The office was introduced after Vatican II.


Use the following format: $1,597. Only include specific change when necessary, such as in a formal financial statement. Never write: around $26. Instead use: about $26 or nearly $26. Be sure to use appropriate commas. When referring to a figure less than one dollar, use 25 cents. In a range, use $25–$35. Refer to the section on directories and tables for more information.


One who withdraws from society in order to pursue a life totally dedicated to God in prayer, penance, and solitude. Monks are commonly distinguished from communities of clerics or friars who engage in some form of active ministry.


An honorary ecclesiastical title granted by the pope to some diocesan priests. The title carries no additional authority or responsibility but is given as a sign of recognition of their service to the Church.


The sacred vessel used for the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as well as solemn Benediction. The Host is generally enclosed in a round glass or crystal-covered opening and surrounded by rays or other decorations.


The belief that several different cultures (rather than one national culture) can co-exist peacefully and equitably in a single community. This is both a cultural and political ideal that shifts and adapts to the changing needs of a community or society as a whole. 


The continued catechesis of newly initiated Christians through the process of leading them into a deeper, reflective understanding of the mystery of their salvation in Christ.

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For Spanish body copy you may need to use the n with a tilde. For lowercase [Keystroke Alt+0241]. For the capital letter [Keystroke Alt+0209].

National Parish

A church community that serves certain groups of people without strict regard to their places of residence. 


In a sentence, one through nine should be spelled out. All numbers that have at least two digits should be written as figures, such as 10 and 357. The exception: only use figures for numbers under 10 when writing ages, dates, percentages, dimensions, formulas and speeds, such as 2 feet by 6 feet; 9 miles per gallon; and 7 mph. (AP) Never start a sentence with a figure. If you must start with a number, spell it out like this: Ninety-seven parishioners attended the Mass. When in doubt, rewrite.

Numbers (fractions)

In body copy it’s preferable to describe fractions with words rather than figures. Example: Yes, I ate half the birthday cake. Example: We made it a third of the way home before I realized I forgot my wallet. Reserve the usage of symbols for fractions to math equations.


The papal representative or ambassador who represents the Holy See to a state or civil government and who also represents the pope to particular churches in that state or nations, in contrast to papal legates who relate only to particular churches.

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A set of concrete, specific expectations that can be measured according to qualitative or quantative criteria. An objective should specify what is to be done, who is to do it, and when it is to be completed. While it has the same criteria as a goal, an objective is accomplished in one year or less. 

Office of the Chancellor

The Chancellor serves as liaison to various consultative bodies of the Archbishop, including the College of Consultors, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Presbyteral Council, and the ad hoc committees as needed. The Chancellor also is the official notary of the Archdiocese, overseeing the content and signatures related to various contracts and compiling various ecclesial and statistical reports. In addition, the Chancellor administers matters related to national collections for Church-related causes and is an ex-officio member of the Curia. 


Use two capital letters without periods. Other acceptable uses are OK’d, OK’ing and OKs. Do not use, okay, ok, o.k. or O.K.

Operational Procedures

Functions, forms and methods of action within a consultative body such as the Parish Pastoral Council.


A person placed in authority over a particular Church (diocese) or its equivalent. Bishops, major religious superiors, vicars general, and vicars episcopal are examples.

Ordinary Time

All those parts of the Church's liturgical year that aren't included in the major seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter).


The act of consecrating or setting apart of men to be the sacred ministers for the worship of God and for the sanctification of all people.

Orient, Orientate (verb)

They mean the same thing although we prefer orient.


use it in reference to people. Instead use Asian or Eastern. It has been used to define people of the Eastern Hemisphere although it can be considered offensive. The term Occidental refers to a person or thing from the Western Hemisphere (i.e. Europe or the Americas).

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A circular band of white wool with two hanging pieces (front and back) decorated with six black crosses worn over the shoulders by all metropolitan archbishops and by the Pope himself.


A community of Catholics served by a pastor, most commonly worshipping at a single church building. Technically, a parish refers to the Catholics residing within a specific geographical boundary, however Catholics may, and commonly do, cross geographical boundaries to become “parishioners” of the parish not nearest to their residence (e.g. , someone living in Livonia can still be a “parishioner” of a parish in the city of Detroit).

Parish Council

A group of people with whom a pastor consults concerning the policies, decision making and governance of a parish. Also can be called a “parish pastoral council.”

Parish Finance Council

A group of people representing the parish with expertise or experience in the areas of finance, administration, or law. They comprise a consultative body of the parish that “assists the pastor in the administration of the goods.” The Parish Finance Council works in cooperation with the pastor and Parish Pastoral Council.

Parish Nurse

The mission of parish nursing is to integrate the practice of faith with the practice of nursing within the parish environment. Parish nurses encourage the faithful to care for themselves and others as an expression of God's love.

The ministry of healing within the Church has been established through hospitals and extended-care facilities. In these facilities physical and emotional care is provided, but attention is also paid to the spiritual health of the patients.

Parish Nursing in the Archdiocese of Detroit began in the late 1980s. Within a few years the practice had taken hold in other parishes throughout southeast Michigan. Today, there are numerous parishes with Parish Nurse ministry programs, which are directly supported by the major hospitals and health systems in the archdiocese.

Parish Pastoral Council

A group of people, representing all facets of the parish, who are chosen, called forth and commissioned to join together in striving to be a communion of faith and to serve the parish in the ministry of leadership. The Parish Pastoral Council works in cooperation with the pastor, Parish Finance Council and total parish to set policy, and establish goals, objectives and action plans.

Parish Services Committee

The Parish Services Committee exists to facilitate the parish response of support, hospitality, resources and condolences for people in need.

The committee maintains a local outreach program for the poor, homeless and vulnerable people within the parish, supports parishioners in times of joy and sorrow, works with other parishes and vicariates to share services and works to accomplish goals of the group’s mission statement. The committee supports home and hospital visitors, funeral lunch providers, St. Vincent de Paul Society, meals for the homebound, food pantries, clothes closets, eldercare and others.

Parish style

When it’s part of a formal name, capitalize it: St. Rene Parish. Always lowercase the word in other uses. (173)


A member of a parish.


Refers to what is proper to the parish. Hence, there is parochial property, parochial discipline, and so forth. 

Particular Law

Refers to those laws outside of the Code of Canon Law that may be created by a local bishop or a country’s conference of bishops. A parish cannot create particular law. 


The priest charged with the care of souls of a parish.


Pertaining to the actual life of the Church, especially at the parish and Archdiocesan levels.

Pastoral Administrator

A religious or lay person who assumes the administrative duties of a pastor in a parish where a priest is not in residence. A priest is appointed to perform sacramental services in that parish.

Pastoral Associate

A deacon, religious, or lay person who serves the parish in multiple areas of ministry. This position is similar to that of an associate pastor in that a pastoral associate assists the pastor in fulfilling the entire pastoral ministry of the parish.

Pastoral Care

Refers to the teaching, sanctifying and governing role of the Bishop. (Comm. on Code 515)

Pastoral Planning

The formulation of a plan to sustain and grow the local Catholic Church, focused on best using the personnel and resources at the Church’s disposal. Together In Faith is referred to as a pastoral planning process.

Pastoral Staff

Typically refers to the parish’s paid staff, this group works in collaboration with the pastor in the pastoral care of the parish and in implementing the policies of the parish. May consist of one or more associate pastors, deacons, men and women religious, directors of religious education, worship and/or Christian service, and lay pastoral ministers. This term typically refers to paid staff, but may also refer to volunteers when appropriate. They serve the parish in cooperation with the Parish Pastoral Council 


A saucer-like plate that holds the bread that becomes the Body of Christ.

Patron Saint

St. Anne, Mary’s mother, was named patron saint of the Detroit Archdiocese in May 2011 by decree of the Vatican. Her feast day is July 26. The English spelling of her name should be used in all cases except when referring specifically to the Ste. Anne de Detroit Church, which was founded in 1701 by French settlers. The “Ste.” abbreviation should never be used in reference to the patron saint of Detroit, St. Anne.


In body copy, spell out the word “percent” instead of using the symbol, %. Use figures in a sentence: We increased revenue by 2 percent. In a financial statement or table use the percentage symbol, %.

Personal Parish

Led by an archdiocesan-assigned priest, a personal parish ministers to parishioners that may be defined by a particular ethnic background or university student population, rather than a geographic location.

Personal Representative

A person named in a will who is responsible for administration of the estate. In some states the personal representative is called an executor.

Planning Groups

A group of laypeople designated by the pastors of their respective parishes to lead the pastoral planning process. Together In Faith Phase Two involves 40 planning groups made up of parishes in geographic proximity.


For all words showing possession, use an apostrophe before the “s.” If the word already ends in “s,” use an apostrophe after the “s.” Do not add an additional “s.” One exception, the word “its” is OK as a possessive.


The belief that encourages respect and support for all possible cultural needs and ways of living, not only ethnic, linguistic or cultural minorities, but also sexual minorities, rural subcultures, feminists, disabled persons and others. 


A guide for future actions in a particular area of parish life. Policy deals with broad commitments to goals for the parish communion, along with objectives and strategies to reach these goals.

Policy Development

The selection of a definite course or method of action from among alternatives and in the light of given circumstances. The purpose of policy is to guide and determine present and future decisions, and is primarily the responsibility of the Parish Pastoral Council.


The pope is visible head of the Church. He is the infallible guide of the spiritual welfare of the Church.


Our current pope is Pope Benedict XVI. His name should be written as such. He began his papacy on April 19, 2005. The pope is commonly referred to as the Holy See of the Catholic Church but never on first reference.

Presbyteral Council

The primary consultative body of priests appointed to assist the Archbishop in his exercise of governmental authority, concerning Archdiocesan governance. The Presbyteral Council assists the Archbishop in his exercise of governmental authority but does not exercise governance directly. The council is completely consultative in nature without authority to act on its own. (Comm. on Code 500)



The priests of the Archdiocese 


One who is ordained and who offers the Sacrifice of the Mass, reconciles sinners to God, preaches the Gospel, anoints the sick, baptizes, and witnesses marriages.

Primary Beneficiary

The first person or group of persons named in an insurance policy, retirement plan, or other arrangement who will receive the proceeds at the death of the owner or insured. Includes trusts and charitable institutions so named.


The way in which a group operates through its structure, framework, methods, and techniques and tools used, as well as the climate, spirit and approach taken.


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For the web use the term Q&A without spaces between letters when referencing a question-and-answer section. Do not use FAQ, or frequently asked questions.


Always use quotation marks at the beginning and end of words that are not your own. Lead into a quote with a comma, not a colon. For all quotes, use the following format:
“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative,” Oscar Wilde wrote.
Also, punctuation always goes inside the closing quote mark of a phrase or sentence, never outside. Use the following format:
Our motto is “Sharing Christ in and Through the Church.”

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When using colors such as black or white, no capitalization is needed. When referring to racial classification such as African-AmericanAsianCaucasian or Hispanic, capitalization is required. When referring to a proper name of a group, such as Black Catholic Ministries, capitalize.


The process of giving formal approval to and thereby validate. Final approval, given by a pastor, of action taken by the Parish Council.


Acts of counsel or advice.


An achievement, process, and goal in the life of the human communion. It requires the overcoming of sin by means of repentance and forgiveness and ultimately by an inner transformation.

Regional Moderator

The cleric who oversees a particular region of the Archdiocese of Detroit on behalf of the Archbishop. The Regional Moderators in the Archdiocese are Regional Moderator pro-tem Msgr. John Zenz (Northeast Region), Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda (Northwest Region), Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hanchon (Central Region), and Auxiliary Bishop Francis Reiss (South Region).


For administrative purposes the Archdiocese of Detroit is divided into four separate regions, each reporting to a Regional Moderator who, in turn, reports to the Archbishop. The Archdiocese consists of the Central, Northeast, Northwest and South regions.

Reign of God

The more active, or dynamic, expression for the Kingdom of God. The Reign of God is the Kingdom as it is now in process.

Religious Brother

Members of a religious community who are either not ordained and not intending to receive Holy Orders or those who are in the process of preparing for Holy Orders.

Religious Order

A religious community of men or women who have professed solemn vows.

Religious Order

When following a person’s name, break off the acronym of their religious order with a comma and avoid using periods between letters of the acronym. Example: Sr. Mary Johnson, RSM. Appendix D of the Catholic News Service style guide covers this subject. (247)

Religious Sister

Women members of a religious community or order. Usually, there is a distinction between sisters, who have taken simple vows, and nuns, who have taken solemn vows.

Residual Beneficiary

A person or group of persons named in an insurance policy, retirement plan, or other arrangement who will receive the remaining proceeds of a policy after the primary and/or secondary beneficiaries receive their share of the proceeds. Includes trusts and charitable institutions so named.


Something or someone that can be looked to for aid or support. 


Use the acute accent mark for the final letter. [Keystroke: Alt+0233] This is a French word meaning, abstract. In English, an abstract is a summary.


Ceremonies surrounding the sacred liturgy and the sacraments or a particular division within the Catholic Church pertaining geographical and cultural differences (Latin Rite, Chaldean Rite, etc.).

Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA)

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) from the Roman Ritual is the mandatory rite for the initiation of adults and children of catechetical age in the United States. The use of this rite is mandatory in all parishes of the Archdiocese of Detroit..

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the process by which adults are received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Roman Curia

The official collective name for the administrative agencies and courts and their officials who assist the Pope in governing the Church. Members are appointed and granted authority by the Pope.

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In general, any visible sign of God's invisible presence. Specifically, a sign through which the Church manifests its faith and communicates the saving reality (grace) of God, which is present in the Church and in the signs themselves. In Catholic doctrine the sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.


Sacramental Minister

A priest assigned to perform sacramental ministry in a parish whose pastoral care has been entrusted to a pastoral administrator.


The English edition of the Roman Missal containing the directives, prayers, and rubrics for the Mass. The Lectionary holds the readings used during the liturgy.


The abbreviation in all cases is “St.” The plural abbreviation in almost all cases is “Sts.” not “SS.” unless it is used in the name of an established church or parish. (204)


The part of the church where the altar is located.


An outline or model of an expected or supposed sequence of events. The way in which a parish may respond to certain situations.


Special rites celebrated on the last three Sundays of Lent, in connection with the elect for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) 


One who is in charge of minutes of meetings and other important documents.

Short term assignment

A priest’s assignment intended to be for a matter of weeks or months, but usually for no longer than a year.

Split Classes

Two different grade levels are taught together.

Stable Patrimony

Patrimony generally refers to the temporal goods and spiritual gifts the Church possesses to help fulfill its mission; however, some of this patrimony is designated as stable patrimony upon which the Church relies. Stable patrimony includes things like real estate, endowments, precious works of art, and so on. Cash savings is not normally treated as part of the stable patrimony. The universal laws of the Church make it more difficult for parishes, dioceses, and other Catholic entities to transfer ownership or control of stable patrimony. To do so requires the consent of certain consultative bodies before the transfer can occur. This transfer of control is referred to as alienation.

Standing Committee

A committee that remains in place for an extended period of time.

Statement of Receipts and Disbursements

A financial statement for cash basis entities, which summarizes the receipts and disbursements paid by a parish or one of its units over a specified period of time.


Rules governing legal persons in church law (e.g., parishes) and defining purpose, constitution, operation, et al.


Giving, typically through the Church, based on the Christian understanding that all of creation belongs to God and people are merely stewards of all their resources – including time, talent, money, property, etc. – and not owners of them.

Strategic Planning

The process by which the Archdiocese defines its direction, based on its mission of sharing Christ, and establishes a means by which to best pursue its goals through the use of its current resources. See “pastoral planning.”


A principle in Catholic social doctrine, which holds that nothing should be done by a higher agency that can be done as well, or better, by a lower agency. Issues are dealt with and policies are established at the lowest proper level of responsibility and competency. Thus, in practice, a Parish Pastoral Council will not make decisions that properly belong to its commissions, and a commission will not make decisions that properly belong to its committees. In all cases, however, the Parish Pastoral Council retains and exercises the right to review decisions made by commissions or committees. It must be understood that set policies and procedures cannot be bypassed at any level. Decisions on all levels must be in line with Archdiocesan policies and guidelines.

Substantial Agreement

Decisions that can be supported and upheld by all.

Survivorship Whole Life Insurance

Also called Joint Life or Second-to-Die Whole Life Insurance, this insurance has premiums based on two lives and pays benefits upon the death of the second of the two persons.

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The receptacle in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in churches and chapels.


A group of individuals committed to a common goal, who support each other, fully exploit member skills and make quality decisions through the use of effective processes. 

Telephone Numbers

There are many ways to write a telephone number but we prefer only this format: 313-596-7315. Leave out the preceding “1.” If there is a phone extension, use the abbreviation, ext., followed by the number.

Temporal Goods

All the material, earthly goods the Church acquires, administers and alienates. Temporal goods are temporary; that is, they are not the spiritual goods that are of supreme importance and the greatest of gifts from the Lord. Temporal goods are in funds, properties, securities or any form, which belong to the legal entity of the parish, Archdiocese, religious order, Catholic association, etc.

Term Life Insurance

Life insurance coverage for a specific term of years with no cash value accumulation.

Territorial Parish

A designation to describe a congregation whose membership consists of Catholics within the parish’s geographic boundaries.


All time should be written with AM or PM, capitalized and without periods between letters. Also, keep in mind brevity when writing the time of day. If it’s the top of the hour, use 4 PM. At the half hour, use 4:30 PM. In a timespan of the same meridian, use 6 to 7 PM. Or, if spanning morning and afternoon, use 11 AM to 1 PM. Do not use a hyphen or en dash in a timespan. Use the word “to.” Do not write the word o’clock when referencing time. It should be reserved for spoken language.


There is one main rule to live by with titles. That is that a title is capitalized only if it is followed by the person’s name, such as: Pope Benedict XVI. In the opposing example, write, Benedict XVI is pope of the Catholic Church. For all questions on religious titles, refer to the CNS style guide (195).

Titles (Composition)

There are many ways to annotate titles of works, whether they are books, music or art. For the web, we prefer to use italics, not quotation marks, to annotate titles in a sentence. It is easier on the eyes. This rule also applies to names of newspapers and other periodicals.

Titles (Suffix)

When referring to an individual only use a suffix after their name if it’s pertinent to the subject you’re writing about. Do not reference a person as holding a PhD if the story is about baseball. That is, only reference the suffix if they hold a doctorate in the theory of baseball.

Together in Faith (TIF)

Together in Faith is the ongoing pastoral planning process that involves every parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The Archdiocese is served by thousands of priests, deacons, religious sisters and lay ministers; operates countless prayer and outreach ministries; holds hundreds of church and school properties; and has its mission to share Christ to millions of people living in southeastern Michigan. Together in Faith is the process used by the parishes to put all available resources on the table and - with clergy and lay members together - discern how we can best us those resources to maintain, strengthen and grow the church.

Together In Faith, Phase One (TIF I)

Implemented between 2004 and 2010, this was the first phase of a new pastoral planning process for the Archdiocese of Detroit. The outcome of the plan is published on the Archdiocese of Detroit website at www.aod.org/tif and implementation of the plan in many cases is ongoing and being incorporated into Phase II.

Together In Faith, Phase Two (TIF II)

The current phase of the ongoing Together In Faith process, which began in January 2011.

Trademark, Service Mark

Never use a ™ or ® next to the name of a brand-name product or service. It’s not necessary. If possible, use a generic name for the product or service such as real estate agent instead of Realtor; and garbage bin instead of Dumpster.


The change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.


Believing in the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.


Three persons in one God. 


An arrangement giving property to a person to administer and manage for the benefit of beneficiaries according to the terms in a will or trust agreement.


The person or persons named in a trust agreement to administer and manage the trust property for the benefit of beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust agreement.

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Never underline on the web. It is reserved for links only.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

A permanent organization of the Catholic bishops in the United States, who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of their territory in view of promoting that greater good with the Church, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate which are fittingly adapted to the circumstances of the time and place. On certain matters affecting the Church in a country, the Conference of Bishops can issue complimentary norms that bind the dioceses in that country. Conferences of Bishops exist throughout the world, sometimes made up of Bishops from a number of smaller countries.

Units of Measurement

In body copy, never abbreviate weights and measures. Reserve this for directories and tables where space is limited. Refer to the subsection on directories and tables.

Universal Law

Laws that have been enacted by those who have legislative power for the entire Church, such as an Ecumenical Council or the Pope. These laws are primarily intended for the common good of the universal communion, but need not bind everyone. They may be specifically addressed to particular groups, but always in view of the universal good, e.g., laws applying to Bishops. (Comm. on Code 12)

Universal Life Insurance

Life insurance with flexible premiums, coverage, and cash value.

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The residence of the Pope, in Vatican State. A descriptive term for the official position of the Catholic Church on matters of religion and other issues.


The cleric that represents a particular Vicariate, or grouping of parishes within a certain geographic area. The Vicar is a pastor from one of the parishes in his Vicariate.


A group of parishes within the archdiocese, defined by geographic area for the purposes of administration. Each the 16 Vicariates in the Archdiocese is represented by a cleric as its vicar. Vicariates are aligned into the four Regions that make up the Archdiocese.


The calling God has for an individual. Its common use refers specifically to “priestly vocations” or the calling of men to become priests. The Archdiocese of Detroit has an Office of Priestly Vocations which is dedicated to helping men discern whether they have a vocation to the priesthood. The term “vocation” also can refer to “religious vocations” (the calling to become a nun or a brother, for instance) or “lay vocations” (the call to become a wife/husband/parent).


Vicariate Pastoral Council, comprised of two lay individuals from each parish within Vicariate boundaries, is a representative, collaborative and consultative body to those parishes, the Vicar and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council in the ministries of education, service, worship and stewardship.


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Spell this word in lowercase.


Spell this as one word, lowercase. Web page is two words.

Website Addresses

For our site, use aod.org. In body copy an address should always be written in the lowercase such as: google.com/mail. Skip the http://www unless necessary for a link. When deciding what words to use for the link, keep it to three or fewer words. If it’s the proper name of an organization, it’s OK to use the full name as a link.

Whole Language

Lessons create links to other subjects (e.g. reading coursewrok involves social studies and math).

Whole Life Insurance

Life insurance with fixed premiums and related cash value growth.


The legal and written declaration of your intention for the disposal of your estate after death.

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Use four digits in most references, such as 2011. If you must shorten the year, use ’11. When referencing a decade, use the 1980s. Notice there is no apostrophe. When shortening the decade, use the ‘80s. In a span of two or more years, like in reference to a school year, use 2006-2007 instead of 2006-07.

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The small skullcap worn by the Pope (white), cardinals (red), and bishops (purple).