Parish Pastoral Councils
Parish Pastoral Councils
It is the policy of the Elphin diocese that each of the diocese’s thirty-eight parishes have a single Parish Pastoral Council.
A Parish Pastoral Council (PPC herein) is a consultative body of the faithful, representative of the whole parish community, willing to work in close partnership with the priest(s) of the parish to further the mission of Christ and his Church in the parish.
In order to ensure the effective working of the PPC, Membership of each Council consists of between 8 and 15 people including:
- The priest(s) of the parish (ex officio)
- Any adult(s) employed by the parish to engage in pastoral ministry (ex officio)
- One member of the Parish Finance Committee (ex officio)
- Lay people elected by parishioners
- One member of the Parish’s Parish Development & Renewal Group
- Person or persons co-opted by the Pastoral Council.
All priests serving the parish are encouraged to participate in all Parish Pastoral Council meetings.
PPC’s are expected to be representative of the Church areas in the parish, and as far as possible of all adult age groups, of women and men, and of adults from different backgrounds.
Each PPC is to decide whether the term of membership is three, four or five years and the term of membership of any elected member should not exceed two consecutive terms consecutive.
To promote continuity the election of members from different Church areas are to take place in different years.
Members are expected to treat in strict confidence any matters of a sensitive nature that arise and / or are discussed during meetings.
Members failing to attend four consecutive meetings without a reasonable explanation will be deemed to have resigned. Vacancies are to be filled by co-opting new members.
Members are encouraged to avail of opportunities provided by the diocese to deepen their own spirituality, levels of religious knowledge and understanding and all opportunities likely to enhance their service as Parish Pastoral Council members.
The parish priest is to preside over the meeting of the Pastoral Council (Can. 536). If he cannot attend a person nominated by him is to preside.
The PPC is to host elections for a Chairperson and Secretary during their September meeting every second year. Both officers are to be encouraged to serve a two-year term.
The chairperson’s main functions will be to involve all members in discussions and to facilitate the smooth running of meetings. The secretary’s main function will be to circulate the agenda at least four days prior to the meeting and to take the minutes during the meeting. Officers may be re-elected but may not serve for more than four consecutive years.
Supporting the chairperson, secretary and priest to plan an agenda is every members’ responsibility. Consequently members are expected to forward items for consideration to the secretary or chairperson at least one week before each meeting. Time may also be given to agreeing an agenda at the end of each meeting.
At least one week before each meeting the parish priest and elected officers are to meet and finalise the agenda.
After each meeting the parish priest and officers are to prepare a short report on the meeting for the Parish Bulletin or other designated mechanism of informing the parish community of the PPC’s discussions, considerations and outcomes.
Each parish priest is to forward the name, address and telephone number of their chairperson and secretary to the bishop of the diocese and either the chairperson or secretary is to serve as a link person with the diocese’s Pastoral Development Office.
In the event that the chairperson or secretary cannot attend the Presider is to seek nominations for a temporary chairperson or secretary.
Each Parish Pastoral Council is to meet a minimum of nine times every year. It is recommended that meetings be held on a fixed day of the month, e.g. the second Wednesday, and that the Council take a two-month break during the summer and a one- month break at Christmas.
The role of the Parish Pastoral Council is to be consultative and advisory (Can 536. §2) and members are encouraged to recognise and promote the participation of all their fellow parishioners, in keeping with their responsibility as Baptised Catholics. In this context members are encouraged to seek the view of other parishioners on important matters and the parish priest is strongly advised to give due consideration to the advice and recommendation of the Parish Pastoral Council.
How each Pastoral Council functions is as important as anything it does. It is vital that time be given to prayer and that true listening and genuine dialogue take place at every meeting (Pope John Paul II At the dawn of the New Millennium 2001). Members are encouraged to express their views, to listen to each other and to respect the views of others.
To support dialogue and listening during meetings members are encouraged to sit in a circle.
Members are encouraged to begin every meeting with a period of reflective, scripture-based prayer and to conclude with a brief prayer. Responsibility for preparing the prayer element of meetings is to rotate among willing members and it is hoped that a spirit of prayer will permeate every meeting.
Meetings should never exceed two hours and members are encouraged to limit meetings to one and a half hours.
Each Parish Pastoral Council is encouraged to establish sub-committees to further agreed objectives and to co-opt other parishioners onto such sub-committees, e.g. a Church building maintenance group. Such sub-committees should regularly report to the PPC who in turn are encouraged to keep the parish community informed of developments.
Each PPC is encouraged to invite representatives of other parish groups to meetings that focus on issues of interest or concern to such groups and to build a solid partnership with the parish’s Parish Development & Renewal Group.
A quorum will consist of half of the membership and ideally decisions should be arrived at by consensus.
Areas of Concern & Responsibility
Each PPC exists to further the mission of Christ and his Church in the parish. Members do so by contributing to the building up of the faith, hope and love of all parishioners. More specifically members contribute by:
Encouraging fellow parishioners, through their example and conversation, to fully, actively and consciously participate in the Sunday Eucharist.
- Praying for the well-being of the parish community
- Organising and / or promoting events that will contribute to the prayer life and faith life of the community
- Promoting and / or making available adult religious education opportunities at parish and inter-parish levels
- Welcoming the stranger, reaching out to the alienated and caring for the vulnerable
- Working to improve communication throughout the parish, especially through inputs in to the parish newsletter and hosting of meetings around issues of pastoral concern
- Caring for the priest(s) of their parish
- Encouraging participation in the liturgical life of the parish.
- Affirming and supporting other parish groups that contribute to the pastoral life of the parish
- Developing / ensuring that the parish has an appropriate pastoral care programme for its young people, persons with disabilities, elderly and marginalised
- Delegating responsibility for specific tasks to groups or individual persons of known competence, e.g. maintenance of parish property and certain financial responsibilities.
- Organising a get-together of representatives of all parish groups and organisations that contribute to the pastoral life of the parish at least once every three years with a view to nourishing them and gleaning their recommendations re: future pastoral planning and provision.
- Conveying to non-church going parishioners, through word and action, that they are valued and integral members of the parish community
- Working collaboratively with members of the Parish’s Parish Development and Renewal Group in responding to any of the above objectives.
In relation to all these areas of concern and responsibility PPC members are encouraged to consult and involve fellow parishioners. Their key role is as facilitators of related opportunities and developments.
The Parish Pastoral Council is not responsible for managing the finances or property of the parish. This is the responsibility of the parish Finance Committee. It goes without saying, however, that the PPC and the PFC should work closely together.