Pastoral Council—A Few Words from Our President & a Call for Nominations

It’s that time of year where we seek three new members to help guide our parish by membership on the Pastoral Council. All Pastoral Council members will be practicing Catholics who are to be on mission with our Lord and an oath of fidelity is required for membership. This is truly a role for people wanting to, if not already, be part of what we deem, the “core” of St. John Parish. If you are not familiar with the duties of a Pastoral Council member, here is some more information.

Pastoral Councils exist in three-fourths of the 18,000 Catholic parishes in the USA. In simple terms, our Pastoral Council is a consultative council of St. John’s and St. Joe’s lay people helping guide the parish. Pastors establish councils because they seek practical advice on pastoral matters. Now that we have only one priest assigned to St. John, Fr. Chas relies more and more on the laity of the parish. Pastors believe that God’s Spirit speaks through their people. They consult their councils because they want to know what is wise and prudent. Experts can say what is best in most parishes and as a matter of general principle, but they cannot judge what is best for a particular parish, here and now, because they are not a part of it. Councils offer what no expert can offer: a judgment about what is right for a particular parish. In other words, our council is looking out for what is best for OUR Parish. Pastoral Councils are successes in the USA because priests benefit when their people study the local situation, reflect on it, and recommend concrete solutions to real problems.

Why are we here? Recognizing that sound pastoral decisions are informed by the wisdom of the People of God, Father Chas consults the St. John the Evangelist Parish Pastoral Council. By establishing a council, he acknowledges the wisdom of his parishioners and expresses his desire to share with them his responsibility for the governance of the parish. Our parishioners have a right and duty to express their opinion on what pertains to the good of their Church. In other words, the Pastoral Council represents YOU in a formal, procedural manner. You can contact any one of us to express your viewpoint on a church matter and we WILL be discussing that matter at the next meeting. We’re the ‘voice of the people’.

What is the purpose? The purpose of the parish pastoral council is to investigate pastoral matters, to consider them thoroughly, and to propose practical conclusions about them. 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 resources. The purpose and scope include all the practical matters of parish life. Make no mistake here, Fr. Chas is the leader of the council and of the Parish. We can only recommend. Final decisions come from the Pastor. After the pastor has accepted the recommendations of the council, he directs their implementation. Council members may assist him, but strictly speaking, implementation is the responsibility of the pastor and the Parish Leadership Team (PLT).

When do we meet? The Pastoral Council meets once every other month. Meetings are two hours in length. Between meetings, council members are expected to follow up the previous meeting and prepare for the next. This usually entails following up on action items.

How do I get on the Pastoral Council? For our Parish, twelve Pastoral Council members serve a three-year term. Our process includes a rotating council, where three members are rotated out every three years based on our fiscal year (June/July). This rotation allows the continuous involvement of others in this important work. 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 conclusions. They are baptized Catholics, in good standing with the Church, who reflect the parish’s various neighborhoods, social and professional groups, and apostolate. Finally, they are parishioners noted for their faith, good morals, and prudence. Please prayerfully consider this role and whether your talents and virtues make you a viable candidate for this council. Fr. Chas will prayerfully review all nominations with the current Pastoral Council. Please submit a nomination form by filling out the information below and placing in offertory basket.