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Parish Pastoral Council

Parish Pastoral Council Minutes of Meetings.

Canon Law provides for the formation of Parish Pastoral Councils in Canon 536 #1.
 
"In every parish of the diocese, a Pastoral Council shall be established, if the diocesan Bishop, after consulting with the Council of Priests, so decides. The Parish Priest presides over the Pastoral Council.  The Pastoral Council is composed of members of the congregation.  The Pastoral Council assists in promoting pastoral action in the parish."
 
ROLE AND FUNCTION OF THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL

The Parish Pastoral Council is a consultative body, pastoral in nature, because it strives to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit among God's people in the parish.  A Parish Pastoral Council gives its help to the priest in fostering pastoral activity; it investigates, under the authority of the priest, all those things which pertain to pastoral works to ponder them, and to propose practical conclusions about them.  It is essential that Council meetings occur in the context of prayer and openness to the Holy Spirit, so that at all times the common good will prevail.  It strives to begin with half an hour of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
Official Church documents state that the Pastoral Councils are to represent the people of God, but not in the legal sense.  Rather, council members are representative in that they are a witness or a sign of the whole community.  They make its wisdom present.  (Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, Private letter on Pastoral Councils, # 7).
 
The Pastoral Council is a representative body rather than a body of representatives. A council member is not a representative for a particular neighbourhood, age bracket, special interest group or organisation.

WHO CAN BECOME A MEMBER?

Council members are taken from the membership of the parish Community.
Other ex officio members may be included at the discretion of the Parish Priest.
The Parish Priest makes all appointments.
 
The number of council members should consist of not less than 6, or more than 15 members. Councilors are to be chosen so as to truly reflect the wisdom of the parish community.  When parishioners understand the Council ministry and have an opportunity to discern which parishioners are suited for it, they can contribute enormously to the selection of councilors.
Serving on the council is a ministry to the whole parish.  When considering membership on the council, the following criteria should be kept in mind.
 
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 also have the ability to study and reflect prayerfully, and to recognize and respect the viewpoints of others.

MAIN PURPOSE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Parish Council will:
 
- oversee pastoral planning
- assist in developing pastoral programs
- be involved in improving pastoral services
- carry out evaluation of the pastoral effectiveness of various programs and services
 
Although the Council is not a body which makes binding decisions, the recommendations of the Pastoral Council are to be taken seriously when grounded in prayer, discernment and communal wisdom.
 
The Parish Priest presides over the Parish Pastoral Council, although there is a chairperson to chair meetings and help organise the agenda.  The Parish Priest is responsible for the final approval of Council recommendations concerning pastoral planning, programs, and services for the parish, as well as for their implementation.  While the Parish Priest is not obliged to follow the recommendations of the Parish Pastoral Council, it is understood that he ought to do so unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.  If there is such a reason, the Parish Priest should share this with the Council.  If that is possible.

MEMBERS OF THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL AT ST MARY’S

Keiran Murray (Chairman)
Kenneth Thomas (Minute Secretary)
Karen White
Margaret Sharkey
Pauline Bailie
Peter Timmons
Gerard McClusky
Barney Curran
Kenny Malloy
Frank Millar
 

MEETINGS/AGENDA

Members are required to attend monthly meetings of the council (from September until June).

The Parish Pastoral Council Constitution needs to explain how items may be proposed and placed on the agenda. The Parish Priest is the primary selector of the Council's agenda, inasmuch as he is the presider.  However, any member of the Council may raise items for the agenda. Ordinarily, the Council meets monthly or at least nine times a year for one to two hours.
 
There is a suggestion box for parishioners to suggest items, parishioners are free to suggest matters to any member of the Council.
 
The Parish Priest, the Minute Secretary and the Chairperson of the meeting usually meet beforehand to arrange the agenda. 

The PPC last met on Monday 24th September.