Magisterial Documents: Pastores Gregis

John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis on the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World
October 16, 2003
The full document is available on the internet.

Brief Introduction

The post-synodal apostolic exhortation Pastores Gregis (The Shepherds of the Flock [PG]) is the result of the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops from September 30-October 27, 2001, which reflected on “the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world." John Paul II published the exhortation on the 25th anniversary of his election as successor of St. Peter and Bishop of Rome. In a certain sense the synodal document builds a bridge between the second and third millennia, offering doctrinal, spiritual, and pastoral principles for the bishop as bearer and bringer of hope to the world.

Marian Aspects

Bishops are encouraged to take the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Hope, as their example (art. 3) and to entrust themselves to her, the perfect teacher of the spiritual life (art. 13). Both aspects are reinforced in articles 14 and 74 as a safeguard for the indissoluble bond uniting Mary and the successors of the Apostles as on Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14). Towards this end, bishops are called upon to further Marian piety in their diocese. Individual and communal devotional practices, approved and recommended by the Church’s long Tradition, above all the recitation of the rosary, are to be promoted by the bishop who is likewise called to implement such devotions in his own spiritual life. During the liturgical year, bishops are to celebrate the sacraments as nourishment on the earthly pilgrimage and as foretaste of its glorious destination whereby the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary is to be treasured (art. 33, 36, 40).


Introduction 1-5

Chapter One: The Mystery and Ministry of the Bishop 6-10

Chapter Two: The Spiritual Life of the Bishop 11- 25

Chapter Three: Teacher of The Faith and Herald of the Word 26-31

Chapter Four Minister: Of the Grace of the High Priesthood 32-41

Chapter Five: The Pastoral Governance of the Bishop 42-54

Chapter Six: In the Communion of the Churches 55-65

Chapter Seven: The Bishop Before the Challenges of the Present 66-72

Conclusion 73-74

© This material has been compiled by Danielle M. Peters, S.T.D.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.
Most recently updated in 2017.

More Information

International Marian Research Institute

300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469