Saint Theresa Church
Recognizing that sound pastoral decisions are informed by the wisdom of
the People of God.. The Pastoral Council was established in St. Theresa
Church. The documents of the Second Vatican Council recommend the
establishment of such councils. They state that Catholics have a right and
duty to express their opinion on what pertains to the good of the church.
"Pastors should willingly consult their people", says the
documents, and use their prudent advice. B y establishing a pastoral
council, the pastor acknowledges the wisdom of his parishioners and
empresses his desire to share with them his responsibility for the
governance of the parish.
1. Purpose of the council.
The purpose of the parish pastoral council is to investigate pastoral
matters, to consider them throughly and to propose practical conclusions
about them The council's task is, first of all, to study those matters
brought to its attention and shed light on them. Its final task is to draw
sound conclusions. The council presents these conclusion to the pastor in
form of recommendations. This three fold task of the council
-investigating, considering and recommending conclusion - is called
The scope of the council is pastoral matters. These may include
everything that pertains to the pastor's ministries of proclaiming God's
word, celebrating the sacraments, caring for the faithful, promoting the
mission of the church to the world and being a good steward of parish
3 Criteria for Membership
Pastoral council members are chosen, above all, for their ability to
accomplish the main task of the council the work of investigating,
considering, and recommending practical conclusion. They are baptized
Catholics in good standing with the church, who reflect the parish's
various mix of parishioners, council and professional groups, and
apostolates. Finally, they are parishioners noted for their faith, good
morals, and prudence
4. Selection of Members
Five members are selected through a parish election. Three appointed
members sit on the council one representative for Our Lady's School, one
for St. Louis High school and one from our Religious Ed. Program. Elected
members are elected for three years.
The pastor presides at every meeting of the council He consults, he
accepts or rejects recommendations, and he develops the agenda with the
council Officers. The pastor and councillors select three officers from
among their number They are the chairperson, vice-chairperson, and the
secretary. With the pastor they develop the council agenda. The
chairperson facilitates the council discussion, making sure that every one
speaks and is heard. The chairperson also monitors the work of the
councillors between regular meeting. The vicechairperson assists the
chairperson and facilitates the meeting in the chairperson's absence. The
secretary keeps the minutes. He or she ensures that they are sent, along
with agenda and supporting documents, to each councillors at least one
week before every meeting.
The pastoral council will have a three-year planning cycle, and members
are selected for a three year term. The pastor defines the theme of the
planning cycle during the December assembly at which the council is
selected. In the beginning of the council's second and third year, the
members facilitate a parish assembly to report on the council's progress
and to elicit the advice of the parishioners. At the end of the third
year, the council completes its work. Then a new council is selected and a
new planning cycle begins.
The pastor develops the agenda with the council officers. It states the
goals for each meeting, the means and group process for reaching the
goals, and the materials needed to accomplish them. The agenda guides the
meeting. It begins with a review of the minutes of the previous meeting
and concludes with a brief evaluation. If the pastor is dissatisfied with
the consultation, he express his reservations and asks the council to
clarify whatever remains obscure. When he is satisfied with the
consultation, he formally accepts the council's recommendations. He may
then ask the parish staff or other parishioners to implement them.
9. Relation to the
Staff and Finance Council
The pastor consults others besides the pastoral council about parish
governance. He relies upon the parish staff for their expertise and
consults them daily about the management of parish operations. Indeed he
may occasionally ask parish staff members to attend council meeting in
order to put their knowledge at the service of the pastoral council.
Moreover the pastor relies on the finance council to develop, monitor, and
report on the parish budget. Finance council members are chosen for their
technical skill in realms of accounting and finance. The pastoral council
by contrast offers practical wisdom. That is the ability to investigate
pastoral matters in a general way, to reflect on them deeply in dialogue
and to propose conclusions appropriate to the parish.
The pastoral council meets once a month from September to June.
Meetings are 1 to l 1/2 hours in length. Between the monthly meetings
council members are expected to follow u p the previous meeting and
prepare for the next. This usually entails work on ad hoc committees. The
first meeting of the new pastoral council is dedicate to the call and
mission of the council. The council's second and third year begins with a
parish assembly. After each assembly, the council assimilates the assembly
results. During the final meeting of each year the councillors reflect on
the progress of the three year planning cycle. The pastor thanks them for
their service and reflects on the progress made by the council towards
reaching its goals.