Why Do We Have A Pastoral Council?
“After the Diocesan Bishop has listened to the Presbyteral Council and if he judges it opportune, a Pastoral Council is to be established in each parish; the pastor presides over it, and through it the Christian faithful along with those who share in the pastoral care of the parish in virtue of their office give their help in fostering pastoral activity” (Canon 536,1)
“The Pastoral Council possesses a consultative vote only and is governed by norms determined by the Diocesan Bishop.” (Canon 536,2)
“...the laity have an active part to play in the life and activity of the Church. Their activity is so necessary within Church communities that without it the apostolate of the pastors is generally unable to achieve its full effectiveness.” (Vatican II, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, 10.)
“... by reason of the knowledge, competence or pre-eminence which they have, the laity are empowered, indeed sometimes obliged, to manifest their opinion in those things which pertain to the good of the Church. If the occasion should arise, this should be done through the institutions established by the Church for that purpose and always with truth, courage and prudence and with reverence and charity towards those who by reason of their office, represent the person of Christ.” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution On the Church, 37.)
In accordance with Canon Law, the use of a Parish Council has been mandated in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
Mission of the Pastoral Council.
The Pastoral Council is established to serve as a consultative group to the pastor, to assist him in fostering pastoral activities and in providing for the continued growth of parish life.
Areas of Pastoral Service.
Since the Pastoral Council is to assist the pastor to reach out in service to his people, the areas of parish life listed in Canon 528-529 are its special concerns. They are the following:
A. The spiritual formation and growth of the people of the parish in liturgical celebrations;
B. The education of adults and youth in the faith;
C. The fostering and nurturing of “community” in the parish;
D. The evangelization of the non-participative Catholics in the parish and the unchurched;
E. Witnessing to the Gospel of social justice in one’s community through service;
F. Provide information and make recommendations, which reflect the spirit of the parish, in order to advise the pastor concerning decisions affecting the life of the parish community;
G. Be responsible with the pastor for the pastoral planning of the parish, including ecumenical activities;
H. Review, evaluate, and make recommendations to the pastor and the parish financial council concerning the funding of parish programs;
I. Provide communications, coordination, and cooperation among the parish members and organizations.
J. Participate in and cooperate with regional and diocesan decisions pertaining to parish life.
There are three ways that people become members of the Pastoral Council. First, all members of the Parish Staff are Ex Officio members of the council. Six members are selected from the parish community by way of a lottery from people who have volunteered to serve on the council. Finally, six members are appointed by the pastor. Each member serves a three year term with one third of the membership chaging each year either through the lottery or appointment method.