The Pastoral Center is a small (but mighty) family-owned business and ministry. Here is how we see our work:
- Pastoral ministers helping pastoral ministers. We are Catholic pastoral ministers ourselves with extensive experience in a wide variety of pastoral ministries. We really understand the joys and challenges of ministry work.
- Practical pastoral resources. We seek out and create excellent resources that leaders can put into use right away. We want to equip them with practical tools for ministry. Our goal is to offer the best resources from across Catholic (and even a few Protestant) publishers.
- Affordability. We know parish budgets are tight and that you need to steward your financial resources wisely. That is why we offer extensive bulk-pricing, inexpensive booklets, and reasonable shipping cost. We've also publish downloadable, reproducible eResources with excellent content for a fraction of the cost of print resources.
- Free pastoral coaching by phone. We have made a commitment to answer our phones live and to offer advice to ministry leaders. We'll talk you through your situation, give you suggestions, and point you to helpful resources (whether from us or another publisher).
- Engaging and coaching parents. A big part of our ministry is helping leaders evangelize and coach parents to pass on their faith to their children. Our GrowingUpCatholic.com website lays out this vision.
- Embracing creativity. We believe there’s a need to take a fresh look at pastoral ministries and try new approaches.
We'd love you to meet the members of our team. You can learn who we are on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are you located?
Our home office is located in Alameda, CA (near Oakland), but our ministry is primarily online, by phone, and at conferences and events. We ship some items from our home office, but most are shipped from warehouses in Chicago and Kansas City.
Are you Twenty-Third Publications?
No, we are and always have been a separate company from Twenty-Third Publications, although we continue to sell almost their entire catalog of products. For many years, we operated PastoralPlanning.com as their main store website. They now operate their own website at TwentyThirdPublications.com, but you can continue to order their products from us.
Are you associated with a particular diocese or parish?
While we certainly help many dioceses in their ministry, we do not have a formal association with any diocese or parish. We know there are many local "pastoral centers" (many of them order from us!), but we are the "online" Pastoral Center.
Are you a non-profit?
No, we are a for-profit business. We are a team of pastoral ministers and this work is our full-time ministry that pays our bills and supports our family. We also have a strong commitment to keeping our prices low and supporting you in your ministry as best we can. We also are very committed to responsible stewardship and give at least 10% of our profits to charitable and Church organizations.
Our History & Vision
The Pastoral Center was founded based on the vision and courage of the late Bishop Ray Lucker of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota to whom we are grateful for support and inspiration. Income generated by this web site is used to advance one of Bishop Lucker's key hopes, that everyone might grow in holiness and learn to practice the art of self-giving love, as Ray himself did so well.
Here is what he said, in part, about this: "Twelve years after I was ordained I was sent to Rome to study theology. I was there during the Second Vatican Council. It was the most profound experience of my life. I went through a personal conversion. My faith became a personal relationship with God as well as an assent to the truths that God has revealed. The Council called the whole church to reform and renewal, for an active, informed and committed laity… and invited every member of the church to work for the transformation of society…. I saw in the Second Vatican Council a fulfillment of all of my dreams." (Lucker, 2000, 545)
And this: "[T]he most pressing need in the church is the evangelization and catechesis of adults [as] the General Catechetical Directory so forcibly reminded us…. We have neglected the central goal of catechesis which is to strengthen faith. And we have almost totally ignored the evangelization of the Catholic people…. I say to that the key to the catechesis of children and youth is the catechesis of adults. Young people need adult witnesses, people who express their beliefs in the daily lives by what they do and say and love." (Lucker, 1977, 276-7)
And yet again, from Bishop Lucker: "The idea of faith calling us to respond as a whole being has become central in my ministry. The biggest single problem facing the church today is that we have so many people who call themselves Christians but who don't really believe, who haven't in their adult lives made an adult commitment of faith. That's why the whole witness of that man in that story [of the father of the epileptic son in Mark chapter nine] is very important to me." (Lucker, 1985, 38-39)
We are indebted to Bill McDonough of the University of St. Catherine in St Paul, MN, for an essay published in March, 2007 about Ray Lucker. These quotes are drawn from that.