Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Pastoral (Parish) Council

Dear Parishioners,

When we examine what canon (church) law requires of every parish, we see that a finance council is mandated.  Canon 537 states: In each parish there is to be a finance council which is governed, in addition to universal law, by norms issued by the diocesan bishop and in which the Christian faithful, selected according to these same norms, are to assist the pastor in the administration of the goods of the parish . . . .   This council is established and active here at St. Thomas More Parish and meets regularly attempting to keep our parish operating in a fiscally responsible manner.

Canon law also states the following (Canon 536):  1.  If the diocesan bishop judges it opportune after he has heard the presbyteral council, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish, over which the pastor presides and in which the Christian faithful, together with those who share in pastoral care by virtue of their office in the parish, assist in fostering pastoral activity. 2.  A pastoral council possesses a consultative vote only and is governed by the norms established by the diocesan bishop.

Regarding this pastoral council, it has been in a state of limbo here since I arrived and needs to be re-established.  I am looking for a select group of people (9 to 12 are recommended) to help advise me with various matters concerning the future of the parish.

According to our diocesan guidelinesParish Pastoral Councils provide a way for pastors to consult their people. The Parish Pastoral Council is: "to examine and consider all that relates to pastoral work and to offer practical conclusions on these matters, so that the life and activity of the People of God may be brought into greater conformity with the Gospel." In this description, we find three tasks assigned to the pastoral council: to examine, to consider, and to recommend.

  • To examine:  The object of the Parish Pastoral Council's examination, "pastoral work," is left sufficiently un-specified in order to include all that concerns the pastor and his staff in serving the parish. The council identifies issues and studies them either at the request of the pastor or on its own initiative.

  • To consider:  The Parish Pastoral Council prayerfully ponders the data it has collected from its examination by trying to discern in what direction God is inviting the parish to go, what is behind the data.

  • To recommend:  After the Parish Pastoral Council has examined and considered any pastoral work, it makes a recommendation to the pastor and his staff on what should be done for this parish at this time in its history.

I am looking for dedicated, prayerful people willing to help me.  If you are interested or you wish to recommend someone for this task, please let me know in writing or by e-mail by April 30, 2022.  After prayerful consideration, the council will be re-established anew to assist me with the future vision and direction of St. Thomas More Parish.

For those who want more information, the diocesan Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines in English and Spanish can be found on the diocesan website.

Please give my request some prayerful deliberation.  More information should follow in the months ahead.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

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