Parish Pastoral Councils in the Archdiocese of Dublin
In his Apostolic Exhortation At the Beginning of the New Millennium, Pope John Paul II states that “the Church of the Third Millennium will need to encourage all the baptised and confirmed to be aware of their active responsibility in the Church’s life.” The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity of Vatican II noted: “Participators in the function of Christ, priest, prophet and king, the laity have an active part of their own in the life and action of the Church… Nourished by their active participation in the liturgical community… they should develop the habit of working in the parish in close union with their priests, of bringing before the ecclesial community their own problems, world problems and questions regarding personal salvation, to examine them together.
Having fulfilled the requirements of canon law, I have decided that all Parishes in the Archdiocese of Dublin should have a Parish Pastoral Council in place by the first Sunday of Lent 2005. The establishment of such Councils forms part of the diocesan renewal programme Working Together for Mission.
The role of a parish pastoral council is set out in Canon 536 of the code of Canon Law:
§1. If, after consulting the council of priests, the diocesan Bishop considers it opportune, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish. In this council, which is presided over by the parish priest, Christ’s faithful, together with those who by virtue of their office are engaged in pastoral care in the parish, give their help in fostering pastoral action.
§2. The pastoral council has only a consultative vote, and it is regulated by the norms laid down by the diocesan bishop.
Parish Pastoral Councils are not an end in themselves, but are at the service of mission and evangelization. Parish Pastoral Councils should enable priests and people to work together to build up a dynamic Christian community that is characterised by faith, mission, worship and service.
Working together for mission also means that parishes must discern how they can give concrete witness in the neighbourhoods in which they are situated, showing how the Christian faith is the response to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society.(C.L.34).
In particular they should facilitate the coordination of parish services regarding:
thereby ensuring that the parish communities be true witness to the love of Jesus.
Parish Pastoral Councils should also
In order to carry out this mission, Parish Pastoral Councils should see their task in terms of
The following Practical Guidelines should form the basis for the introduction of Parish Pastoral Councils in the Archdiocese. I pray that Parish pastoral Councils will be fruitful instruments for a renewal in evangelization, mission and service in our parish communities in the coming years.
In this year, proclaimed by Pope John Paul II as a Year of the Eucharist may this renewal be focussed in a special way around the celebration of the Mysteries of our Redemption in the celebration of the Eucharist in which through our sharing “in the body and blood of Christ we are brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit”.
Archbishop of Dublin
Dublin, 12th October 2004
Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines
Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines
by the Archbishop of Dublin,
Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Mourne Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12
Hereby establishes the following guidelines for its Parish Pastoral Council:
PARISH MISSION STATEMENT
Our parish is a vibrant community on a journey inspired by the Christian message.
We do this by welcoming you to risk being part of this living community.
If you feel hurt, we want to help.
Do you have questions? Let us find answers.
When you are lonely, let us be with you.
Where there is happiness we want to celebrate.
…For where there is Love, there is God.
The Parish Pastoral Council provides leadership in the parish in collaboration with the clergy and pastoral agents appointed by the Archbishop.The work of the Council is in promoting evangelisation, the sharing of the Good News which is the purpose of the parish.This primary task is pursued through Pastoral Reflection and Planning, Animation, Action, Communication and Evaluation.
The Finances of the Parish are catered for by the Finance Committee which is obligatory by Canon Law
Members shall be baptised Catholics who participate in the life and worship of the parish and are available to attend a minimum of half the meetings in the space of one year.
3.1. Selection of Members
Members will be selected by a process of nomination and discernment. Nomination will be at a Parish Assembly where parishioners will be invited to nominate those they deem suitable for inclusion on the Parish Pastoral Council. A closed box will be provided to enable nomination in a confidential manner. Following nomination at a Parish Assembly a group designated by the outgoing Council including the President will discern membership of the new Council from those nominated for selection.
3.2. Composition of the Parish Pastoral Council
The Parish Pastoral Council shall comprise of:
Ex officio members should not exceed 40% of the total membership
A broad representation of the whole parish is the ideal; what is essential is that the members of the council undertake to be representative of the whole community and focus on what is best for the whole parish not individual parish groups.
3.4. On-going formation
Prayer, reflection and skills training are of paramount importance. To ensure that the Council is effective on-going formation will be provided for every member of the Parish Pastoral Council.
3.5. Period for Membership
Selected and appointed members of the Parish Pastoral Council are to have a term of office of three years, with the possibility of reappointment for one more term, according to the needs of the parish. Remaining on the Council for more than one term will be at the invitation of the outgoing Council towards the end of its first term in office. No Council member may serve for more than two consecutive terms. Eligibility for re-selection is possible after one term of absence from the Council has elapsed. The nomination of some outgoing Council members to a second term represents a “staggered terms” approach to membership in an effort to maintain a minimum of stability and efficiency on the Council. A maximum of three outgoing members may be appointed from the ordinary membership of the outgoing Council to continue for one more term.
On the appointment of a new Parish Priest/Moderator/Administrator, it is recommended that the membership of the Council be reviewed within one year.
The Parish Pastoral Council itself may fill any vacancy arising during the term of the Council by invitation; the length of service of the person who fills the vacancy will be for three years.
Maximum membership of the Parish Pastoral Councils shall consist of 15 members.
The Parish Pastoral Council should appoint at least three officers: president, chairperson, and secretary.
The Parish Priest/Moderator/Administrator has been entrusted with the care of the parish by the bishop, he convokes the meetings and is the president of the Council.
The chairperson is elected by the members of the Council for a period of three years. The role of the chairperson is to prepare the agenda with the president and the secretary and to facilitate the meetings of the Parish Pastoral Council. At the discretion of the Parish Pastoral Council a Vice Chairperson may be elected to assist the Chairperson.
The secretary is responsible for keeping a record of the meetings of the Parish Pastoral Council and for circulating relevant material to the Council members. The secretary will be elected for three years; alternatively the Council might decide to appoint a secretary who is not a member of the Council as the task may limit participation in meetings.
4.4. Responsibilities of all members
All members of the Council will be required to:
The Parish Pastoral Council will meet in ordinary session on a monthly basis nine times per year. Ordinary meeting will not be held in the months of July, August or December. An extraordinary meeting may be convoked by agreement among the Officers at any time.
The collaboration between the Priests and the Parish Pastoral Council is integral to each stage of the parish decision-making process. In virtue of his office the Parish Priest/Moderator/Administrator presides over and ratifies all stages of the process leading up to and including final choices and implementations. This collegial process respects the authority of the Parish Priest and the integrity, expertise and deliberations of the members of the Council. Above all, the Gospel mandate of mutual love, listening and understanding, should prevail among all the members of the Council.
The agenda for each meeting will be finalised by the secretary, chairperson and the president of the Council and should be circulated to Council members one week in advance of the meeting, together with any notes or other relevant material required. Minutes of the meeting will be circulated within ten days after the meeting has taken place.
A period of at least ten minutes should be set on the agenda for prayer and reflection.
A minimum of eight members must attend each meeting for it to constitute an official decision making gathering of the Parish Pastoral Council. A legitimate quorum must include the Parish Priest/Moderator/Administrator.
The Parish Pastoral Council exists to coordinate the various parish initiatives of evangelization and pastoral action including the work of standing and ad hoc committees.
6.1. Standing Committees
These are permanent in nature and generally facilitate some form of ministry or organisation in the parish. Members of the committees are appointed in consultation with the Parish Pastoral Council, should report regularly to the Council. Chairpersons of Standing Committees should be proposed for acceptance to the Parish Pastoral Council.
Ad hoc committees may be set up by the Parish Pastoral Council for specific purposes and with a definite time limit, e.g. planning a centenary celebration for the parish.
7. Diocesan Support
In order to further facilitate parishes, the diocese is committed to providing resources, training and on-going formation. Such resources will be coordinated at deanery level under the guidance of each Vicar Forane and should be availed of by the Parish Pastoral Council.
8. Parishes working together for Mission
Where efforts are made between different parishes to foster working together for evangelization and mission, the Parish Pastoral Councils should be part of that collaborative effort.