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A Pastoral Council shall be established in every parish.
The pastor presides over the Pastoral Council. 
The Council is composed of parishioners as well as members of the parish staff.
The Pastoral Council assists in promoting pastoral action in the parish.

Canon 536 #1

The Parish Pastoral Council is a consultative board of parishioners that strives to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit among God’s people in the parish. This group articulates the mission and direction of the parish, helps set priorities, promotes the spiritual growth of the entire parish, and offer advice in long-term parish planning. All this in the context of the vision of the diocese and the teaching of the universal church.

The Pastoral Council offers practical wisdom concerning issues and concerns that will help the pastor focus his service on the blessings and needs of the parish. Specifically, the purpose of the Pastoral Council is to enhance the process of:

  • Pastoral Planning
  • Developing Programs
  • Improving Services
  • Evaluating the Pastoral Effectiveness of various Programs and Services

Although the Council cannot make any binding decisions, the recommendations of the Pastoral Council are to be taken seriously when grounded in prayer, discernment and communal wisdom.

The pastor presides over the Pastoral Council and is responsible for the final approval of all Council recommendations concerning pastoral planning, programs, and services for the parish, as well as for their implementation. While the pastor can choose not to follow the recommendations of the Council, it is understood that he ought to do so unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.

Membership in the Pastoral Council

Members of the Council will include a balance between:

  • 3 or 4 members nominated by the parish at large
  • 3 or 4 members nominated by the Leadership Council
  • 3 or 4 members appointed by the pastor himself
  • 1 or 2 ex-officio members from the parish staff (this may include the Parochial Vicar)

The council consists of 6–12 members that reflect the variety and wisdom of the community. Serving on the council is a ministry to the whole parish. Potential candidates should be:

  • of proven faith,
  • with sound morals,
  • demonstrating the gifts of wisdom and prudence,
  • willing to commit their time, talent and wisdom in a consultative and collaborative manner.

Council members should have the ability to study and reflect prayerfully, and to recognize and respect the viewpoints of others. The Pastoral Council is a representative body rather than a body of representatives. A council member must never take the role of  a representative for particular groups, age brackets, or organizations.

Meetings & Agendas

As the presider, the pastor is the primary selector of the Council’s agenda. However, any member of the Council may raise items for the agenda. Ordinarily, the Council meets every other month (September to June) for 1–2 hours.Minutes are recorded, made public (published on the website) and archived as part of the parish permanent record.

Terms & Responsibilities

Each Council Member serves a two year term (renewable only once). The Council does not deal with acts of administration which are distinct from pastoral policies and planning. Acts of administration are part of the daily operations of the parish, which includes the implementation of the pastoral plan and policies, parish programming, budgeting and personnel matters. The pastor has the responsibility for these matters and for the staff.

Vacancy of the Office of the Pastor

When a parish becomes vacant, for any reason, the Pastoral Council immediately ceases. Once a new pastor/parochial administrator/parish steward is named a new Pastoral Council will be elected and convoked within two months of the date of installation.