PARISH COUNCILS – Background and Rationale:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19). This is the call of Christ for a Catholic parish. The way each parish lives this out is determined by the gifts and charisms of its people and that particular local parish church, the needs of the People of God, and the means by which the parish and community can respond to those needs.
Last week I wrote about two different consultative bodies that are put in place in a parish to discern and guide God’s call in that particular, geographic community. During Lent I am asking the Parish of St. Monica to help me discern and call new members to both our Parish Finance- and Parish Pastoral Council. New members will begin in around May of this year. Last week I offered information about Parish Finance Councils. This week I provide you material concerning membership in a Parish PASTORAL Council. Additional information and nomination forms for both Pastoral and Finance Council will be available on-line and in the church lobby.
What is a Parish PASTORAL Council?
Ultimately everyone in the parish is responsible for the development and implementation of the Parish Mission. The Pastoral Council is a particular, consultative group who assists the Pastor by listening to the voice of God, ascertaining the needs of the parish and local community and by considering how the parish might address those needs.
Council members are not experts, however people on the council are chosen based on the gifts and charisms they have to offer (Some of these charism are listed below). They are NOT the “do-ers” of the parish. They are people committed to the parish who wish to see the parish live and thrive in the future. They are members of the parish who are able to look at the whole parish, how all the pieces work together and how parishioners – and non-parishioners alike – can work together to fulfill the Mission of the Church.
The Pastoral Council is a visionary body, and can have a number of purposes. They might develop, implement, and review the Parish Vision and Mission. They help assess the needs of the parish and surrounding neighborhood over the next few years. They build relationships within the parish and among the surrounding community. They reflect on the Mission of the Church – they look at the big picture and ask questions such as “Where are we going as a church community and how do we get there?” They increase participation in parish life by helping others to hear and answer their own call from God. They call forth new leaders and guide the implementation of the Parish Mission to achieve the Parish Vision.
In the church lobby this week, I shall provide descriptions and expectations of members of both Parish Finance – and Parish Pastoral Councils.