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What Is a Vicar Forane?

Question:

What is a vicar forane?

Answer:

The position of vicar forane is appointed by the local bishop. His role is to oversee the priests of a particular area. Each diocese is divided into areas called vicariates. In the United States, the position is usually referred to as a dean and the region as a deanery. The dean’s role is to oversee the spiritual needs of the priests in his region, to be attentive to pastoral issues in his region, and to coordinate regional pastoral responses.

For example, the dean might organize a day of confessions in his deanery or perhaps a common Mass for specific celebrations. Deans also usually hold regular meetings with the priests of the deanery to relate to the bishop their concerns and ideas. Deans are responsible for making sure parishes in their region are following proper rules for sacramental records and that the rights of other priests in rectories are respected by the pastors. In some dioceses the faculty to confirm is granted to the deans.

In essence, their role is to assist the bishop in the smaller but essential matters of the diocese.

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