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Germany: Diocese of Osnabruk, first woman in charge of two parishes 

The first woman in charge of the parish community made up of Bad Iburg and Glane (Diocese of Osnabruk, Germany) will make her official debut on 1 December. Christine Hölscher, 52, has devoted several years of her life to formation, carrying out animation activities and pastoral responsibilities in various communities of the diocese. She will take on financial responsibility for the parish, manage the staff, chair the parish councils of the two communities, and coordinate the activities of the parish community. Ms Hölscher will be assisted by a pastoral team of lay people that also includes a “priest moderator” who is available for the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments in the communities. “When leadership responsibilities are shared, abuses of power are less likely to occur”, she stated in an interview with As a matter of fact, the shortage of priests will make this model of a parish guided by a layperson increasingly necessary, and the Bishop of the Diocese, Franz-Josef Bode, has stated on various occasions that he wants to make sure responsibilities are “equally shared between men and women”. The Diocese of Osnabrück has for some time been engaged in a process of reflection and pastoral renewal on the theme “Church of participation” (Kirche der Beteiligung) to address the dramatic shortage of priests.

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