Fr. Mark Mertes, Moderator of the Curia
12615 Parallel Parkway
Kansas City, Kansas 66109
WHAT IS A VICAR GENERAL?
The position of vicar general is an appointed office in the administrative structure of the Archdiocese which is established to assist the Archbishop in the governance of the whole Archdiocese. Every diocese is required to have at least one vicar general as prescribed in the Code of Canon Law, canon 475. In the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas the Archbishop has appointed two priests to serve as vicars general; one as Vicar General – Moderator of the Curia and the other as Vicar General-Vicar for Clergy. The diocesan bishop freely appoints a priest to serve as vicar general and can freely remove him from office. By virtue of office, the vicar general has the executive power over the whole diocese which belongs to the diocesan bishop by law, namely, the power to place all administrative acts except those, however, which the bishop has reserved to himself or which require a special mandate of the bishop by law. The vicar general must report to the diocesan bishop concerning the more important affairs which are to be handled or have been handled, and he is never to act contrary to the intention and mind of the diocesan bishop.
WHAT IS THE ARCHDIOCESAN CURIA?
A diocese is entrusted to the diocesan bishop for his pastoral care (canon 369, 381). He is not alone, however, in fulfilling the responsibilities of teaching, sanctifying, and governing which are entrusted to him. The diocesan bishop collaborates with many priests and lay faithful in order to successfuly shepherd his diocese. One of the vehicles available to assist the diocesan bishop in his administration of the diocese is his curia. “Curia” has its root in the ancient Latin word for court or assembly.
The Archdiocesan Curia consists of those institutions and persons which assist the Archbishop in the governance of the whole Archdiocese, especially in guiding pastoral action, in caring for the administration of the diocese, and in exercising judicial power as prescribed in canon 469 of the Code of Canon Law. The Curia offices are located, for the most part, in the Chancery building at 12615 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, KS. They include offices of Vicar General, Chancellor and Judicial Vicar as well as other offices that manage administration, records and finances of the Archdiocese. It also includes the offices of Communications and Pastoral Planning, Stewardship and Development, Archdiocesan Schools, Vocations Office, Diaconate Office and the Archdiocesan Tribunal staff. Additionally various ministry offices grouped under the Department of Parish Ministries, such as the Liturgy Office, exist to help the Archbishop exercise his role as chief shepherd and teacher and to assist parishes in providing catechetical, liturgical and formational programs for the Catholics in the 21 counties of northeast Kansas which make up the Archdiocese. Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, the charitable arm of the local Church, along with the Office of Hispanic Ministry, the Office of Deaf Ministry and a few other ministries are located at sites apart from the Chancery building.
WHO IS THE MODERATOR OF THE CURIA?
Fr. Mark Mertes, in addition to being one of the Vicars General for the Archdiocese, also serves as the Moderator of the Curia and, under the authority of the Archbishop, oversees the curia offices and assists the Archbishop in coordinating the activity of the members of the curia in accord with the prescripts of canon 473 §2 of the Code of Canon Law. The Moderator of the Curia is especially responsible for the pastoral programs of the Archdiocese and works closely with the Archdiocesan Chancellor to insure that the administrative functions of the local Church are carried out in accord with prescribed norms and in a manner consistent with the Church’s mission and the Archbishop’s vision.
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1Pet 4:10)