January 4, 2018
Sacred Heart Basement
Arleen Gross - Chairperson
January 9, 2018
What is a Parish Pastoral Council?
Our experience in a democracy and its politics sometimes poorly prepares us to understand the nature of a “parish pastoral council”. At times some falsely see it as a “mini-House of Representatives”; some see council members as “little pastors”, “in charge” or “staff members”. Or the impression is that the Council Members are the ones who “make decisions”.
However their function, as established by the Church is a consultative body whose purpose is to assist the Pastor in matters concerning the spiritual life of the Parish. Because of council members relational ties to the other parishioners, they are often the most aware of the spiritual needs, challenges, and opportunities of the parish.
This consultative structure of the Pastoral Council assists the Pastor in identifying and understanding important matters that affect the life of the Parish, gathering the thoughts and ideas of the community and discussing them with the Pastor as together they seek the good of the Parish.
The pastoral activity of the parish in which the Council assists the Pastor includes but is not limited to the following areas:
- Encouraging active participation in parish prayer and liturgies;
- Promoting catechesis and evangelization for parishioners of all ages;
- Fostering Catholic family life;
- Encouraging community outreach;
- Encouraging the performance of spiritual and corporal works of mercy;
- Strengthening relationships with the diocesan Bishop and Church.
Under the direction of the pastor and in cooperation with the parish staff, the Council assists in:
- Discerning the strengths and needs of the parish community;
- Developing and maintaining a parish mission statement;
- Engaging in ongoing strategic planning;
- Assisting in the establishment of pastoral goals, priorities and action plans for the parish;
- Assisting in the formation of parish policies concerning pastoral matters;
- Fostering communication among different parish entities;
- Evaluating programs and processes.
The Parish Finance Council is a consultative body of lay persons, mandated by canon law, whose purpose is to advise the pastor in matters pertaining to the financial affairs of the parish.
The pastor has authority from the Bishop and the universal law of the Church to decide and act on behalf of the parish (Canon 532). The Parish Finance Council is strictly advisory to the pastor.
Nevertheless, the expertise of the laity is essential to the parish in order to most effectively guide the decisions of the pastor. Together they work, then, to make wise financial decisions, so as to be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to the parish.
Finance Council members are appointed by the pastor.