Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council

Formed in 2001 the Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council seeks to promote "All Things in Christ" by the conscious application of the following aims and objectives:

  • To ensure that the Church is, and is seen to be, a sign of the presence and love of God.
  • To create a vision for the diocese through prayer, discussion and reflection on God's word
  • To emphasise the fact that, through Baptism, one's Christian vocation is a call to service of the community
  • To cultivate the highest ideas in private and public life according to the Gospel of Christ.
  • To co-operate with other pastoral bodies in developing new initiatives which can be undertaken to make the proclamation of the Gospel more effective.
  • To recognise the unique dignity of each person and each person's contribution to Christian living
  • To have special care for the needy and for all those who feel marginalized in our society
  • To encourage all the people of God to participate in the life and mission of the Church
  • To create structures and support, through listening and dialogue, which will enable everyone's voice be heard.

The composition and structure of the Council is governed by the Council's Constitution.

Constitution of The Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council October 2009

The Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council is a consultative body, representative of Catholics in the Diocese of Elphin.

Recommended in the revised Code of Canon Law (cc. 511-514) and called together in Christ by the bishop, the Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council seeks to assist the bishop in providing vision and direction for nurturing the faith, the pastoral life and the activities of the People of God through observance of this constitution.

The name of this body is "The Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council." Throughout this constitution and for related references, the short title "The Council" will correctly identify this body.

The Council is a consultative body in which representative clergy, religious and laity of the diocese come together with the bishop to review, plan and evaluate all matters pertaining to the pastoral life of the diocese and to make recommendations about those matters to the bishop.

The Council assists the bishop in assessing the needs of the diocese, in recommending priorities and in establishing goals and objectives.

At the request of the bishop the Council may review recommendations of all other diocesan collegial bodies and, while honouring the principles of subsidiarity, may submit to the bishop conclusions regarding major recommendations that affect diocesan goals and priorities.

The Council serves as a forum for open communication throughout the diocese, and after full and free discussion forms a united voice with the bishop in speaking publicly to contemporary religious and ethical issues.

It remains with the bishop alone to determine the extent to which the work of the Council is made public.

The Council ceases to exist when the diocesan see is vacant.  During such vacancy, however, the administrator of the diocese may exercise discretion to convene the Council as an ad hoc advisory committee.

Council members, ex officio, appointed and chosen, are faithful, active and respected women and men of the Church who are dedicated to the welfare of the entire diocese.

The membership of the Council shall be designated as follows: 
a. The Bishop  (ex officio)
b. The Vicar General (ex officio)
c. Diocesan Office Nominee (ex officio)
d. The Chairperson of the Council of Priests (ex officio)
e. The Diocesan Director of Pastoral Development (ex officio)*
f. The Diocesan Director of Youth Ministry (ex officio)*
g. One religious
h. Five lay women
i. Four priests
j. Two lay men

All meetings will be attended by the Executive Secretary of the Council, an appointee of the bishop.  The Executive Secretary is not a member of the Council.

The leadership of the religious congregations serving in the diocese will nominate the religious representative.

The Diocesan Council of Priests, in consultation with the bishop, will decide on the means of nomination of the four priest representatives.

A Selection Committee nominated by the outgoing Diocesan Pastoral Council shall nominate the seven lay representatives (five women and two men).

The term of members of the Council shall be three years. No member of the Council may serve more than two consecutive, full terms.
Vacancies shall be filled by the Executive Committee of the Council. Any person chosen to fill a vacancy as described in this paragraph shall serve only for the period of time remaining in the term of the person she or he replaces.

The Council meets no fewer than three times each year (Spring, Autumn and Winter) at a time and place which the Executive Committee designates with the approval of the bishop.

The bishop may call special meetings of the Council.

Each meeting is to begin with a period of reflective Scripture-based prayer or The Evening Prayer of the Church and each meeting will conclude with a brief prayer. Responsibility for preparation and leading of prayer is to rotate between willing members.

A majority of all members constitutes a quorum for meetings of the Council.

Members of the diocese may suggest items for possible inclusion in the agenda for meetings by submitting suggestions to the Executive Committee of the Council via the Council's Executive Secretary.

The Executive Committee shall prepare the agenda for each meeting at least two weeks before the meeting. 

The Executive Secretary shall arrange for the agenda and supporting materials to be forwarded to each Council member at least ten days prior to each meeting.

In keeping with the consultative nature of the Council, and the fact that it is not a voting body, the Chairperson of the Council shall conduct the meetings in a discussion/consensus manner, recognizing in turn those who wish to speak and attempting to engender a consensus of the members.

The Executive Secretary shall serve as secretary.

The bishop, or in his absence, the Vicar General, shall preside over the Council.

The Council shall have an Executive Committee. 

The bishop shall appoint one member of the Council as chairperson of both the Council and of the Council's Executive Committee.  If the chairperson cannot be present the relevant meeting shall nominate a chairperson for that meeting.

The bishop shall designate to the Council and to the Executive Committee an Executive Secretary. 

The Council shall nominate and elect the non ex officio members of the Executive Committee in a manner of its own choosing. The term of office shall be two years.

If an office becomes vacant during a term a replacement shall be elected at the next meeting of the Council to serve the remainder of the un-expired term.

The Executive Committee shall be composed of the bishop (ex officio), the chairperson of the Council (ex officio), and three other members of the Council. 

The meetings of the Executive Committee will also be attended by the Executive Secretary.

The Executive Committee shall establish the agenda for Council meetings and, with the support of the Executive Secretary and established Ad Hoc committees, carry on the work of the Council between meetings.

The Executive Committee will evaluate its progress in relation to its mandate on a regular basis and will include this evaluation in its regular reports to the Council.

The bishop shall designate an Executive Secretary to the Council and to the Executive Committee.  S/he shall not be a member of the Council or of the Executive Committee.

The duties of the Executive Secretary include, but are not limited to the following:
(i) Arranging the photocopying and distribution of necessary meeting materials, e.g. a discussion document;
(ii) Arranging for the circulation of the agenda for Council meetings;
(iii) taking minutes of meetings of the Council and the Executive Committee;
(iv) handling correspondence from the Council as directed by the Council and the Executive Committee.

S/he will ensure that the minutes of all Council meetings are forwarded to Council members and that reports of meetings (and subsequent developments) are communicated with others, i.e. as directed by the Council and the bishop.

The Chairperson of the Council may appoint ad hoc committees of the Council. Such committees shall consist of at least two members of the Council, one of whom shall be the chairperson of the ad hoc committee, and may include persons who are not members of the Council. Each ad hoc committee will submit a brief report of its activities at each meeting of the Council. As soon as the appointed task of an ad hoc committee is accomplished, that committee will cease.

An amendment to this constitution must be proposed in writing to the Executive Secretary by Council members at least three weeks prior to a scheduled meeting of the Council in order to be included on the agenda for that meeting. The Executive Secretary shall mail the text of the proposed amendment to each member of the Council with the agenda of the meeting. 

This constitution shall be amended upon acceptance of the amendment by two-thirds of the Council and ratification by the bishop. 

The Council members are:

Bishop Christopher Jones, Msgr Gerard Dolan, Mr Paraic Nolan, , Mr Paul Keogh, Ms Mary Reynolds, Ms Evelyn O'Donnell, Ms Ruth O'Brien, Very Rev Eugene McLoughlin, Mr Frank McGuinness, Very Rev Ray Browne, Dr Justin Harkin,Rev Dr Michael Duignan, Sr Annette Duignan, Ms Maria Beirne, Rev, Gerard Cryan, Very Rev John Cullen, Rev John McManus and Ms Bridgeen Regan

Meetings are chaired by the Council's chairperson, Ms Evelyn O'Donnell and minutes kept by Ms Joan Geraghty, secretary.  

Contact Details:
Ms Evelyn O'Donnell
Diocesan Pastoral Council, 
c/o Diocesan Office
St. Mary's
Temple St
Ms Joan Geraghty
Diocesan Pastoral Council, 
c/o Diocesan Office
St. Mary's
Temple StSligo    

During August 2008 Bishop Jones initiated a three-day review of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and its relationship with other key Diocesan Bodies, i.e. The Council of Priests, Diocesan Liturgy Commission and Elphin Pastoral Planning Group.  The above constitution incorporates the fruit of this review. 


Representatives of the Elphin Pastoral Planning Group, Pastoral Council, Council of Priests and Liturgy Commission with Bishop Jones and Martin Kennedy (Facilitator) during their three-day meeting in St. Angela's College, Lough Gill, Sligo, August 2008


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