The Passionist Historical Archives St. Paul of the Cross Province Archival Policies Statement
Beginning with this issue of the Passionist Heritage Newsletter, we shall publish, in segments, our Policy Statement for your information. A policy statement is the basic organizational tool of every archives. It defines the mission and objectives of the archives, the scope of its activities, the nature of its collections, the authority under which it operates and the services it provides to its clients. Our Policy Statement has been reviewed and approved by Very Rev. Fr. Provincial and therefore has the force of a Provincial directive.
Morgan P. Hanlon, C.P.
I Mission Statement
Records considered worthy of permanent preservation are collected and preserved in the Passionist Historical Archives by authority of the Major Superior of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross. The mission of the Passionist Historical Archives is to organize, preserve, protect and make available to the Provincial administration and authorized researchers those records of the Province which are judged to be of permanent and unique value because of their relation to its life and history, its ministries and members. The Archives is immediately and directly under the supervision of the Provincial himself who may, in consultation with the Archivist, appoint an Archives Advisory Committee.
II The Archives Staff
- The Archivist (and his Assistant, if any) is appointed by and is directly responsible to the Provincial. His chief function is to manage and direct the various activities related to the Archives. He shall receive professional training and be furnished such assistance, funds and facilities as are required to conduct the archives in an effective manner.
- It shall be the responsibility of the Archivist to pursue his own professional growth and that of his staff. He shall, therefore, become a member of professional archival organizations and attend archival conventions, workshops and seminars. He shall, at intervals, inform the Provincial Superior of those members of the Province and others who may, in his judgment, be considered as potential candidates for archival work and/or education. He may also, from time to time, recommend to the Provincial his possible successor(s).
- The responsibilities of the Archivist include the following:
- Publish, maintain, periodically up-date and make available to users “finding aids” such as inventories, registers, box lists, shelf lists, etc.
- Assist researchers in their use of archival materials.
- Increase the holdings of the Archives by solicitation and judicious acquisition of new material.
- Collaborate with the Province Historian, especially in the regular publication of a Heritage Newsletter.
- Conduct on-going outreach programs intended to make the work and resources of the Passionist Historical Archives better known to Province members and the general public.
- Supervise the work of the Archives’ staff.
- Prepare an annual budget and an annual report summarizing the activities of the Archives during the preceding fiscal year.
III Basis for Archival Decisions
- Canon law makes no provision for archives in Religious Communities. Therefore our Archives shall be governed by the particular law of the Passionist Congregation, the pertinent laws of the State of New Jersey and of the U.S.A. as well as by the decrees of Provincial Chapters and the directives of Provincials while they are in office. In addition our Archives shall conform to the professional Code of Ethics of the Society of American Archivists.
- Much archival material is protected by copyright or by private law, i.e. by the constitutions or by-laws of an organization, legislative ordinances, executive directives and approved policies. Religious Profession records, for instance, are considered public records and are therefore subject both to Canon Law and to public law including laws of confidentiality. The Archivist shall ensure that the laws of copyright are observed by staff members and researchers.
- The ultimate purpose of the Archives is simply the collection, preservation and utilization of information. Archival records are, normally, in the form of documents. Some records will be collected and preserved in other forms, e.g. artifacts pertaining to Passionist life and ministry, photographs, motion pictures, audio and video tapes and other mechanical and electronic information storage means. These will be stored in appropriate containers, and the equipment necessary to read or display them will be acquired.
- Certain documents, such as current operating records of the Chief Financial Officer or confidential personnel files, will continue to be maintained at the Provincial Pastoral Center in South River, NJ. The latter shall, however, be deemed to be part of the Passionist Historical Archives and shall be transferred to the Archives upon the death of the subject member but shall be closed to all researchers for seventy-five (75) years after his death.
…to be continued in future issues.