PPC Constitution Consultation

 

Introduction
Over recent months Bishop Kevin and others have been reflecting on the content of our diocese’s Parish Pastoral Council Constitution recently and wish to propose some changes by way of strengthening PPCs for mission, removing  unnecessary expectations and simplifying the text.

Interested persons are invited to offer feedback via email to Justin Harkin @
 justin@elphindiocese.ie who will collate the responses.

Bishop Kevin would  appreciate if feedback could be with Justin before the end of September,  so that they can work towards the publication of the final text.

Diocese of Elphin
Parish Pastoral Council Constitution
– Consultative Draft 26th August 2019

Introduction
It is the policy of the Diocese of Elphin that each of the diocese’s thirty-seven 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.

Membership
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 deacon assigned to minister in 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)
  • Relevant volunteer pastoral ministers (e.g. volunteer catechist; parish youth minister)
  • Members of the lay faithful nominated or elected by parishioners (see below)
  • A maximum of two members may be co-opted by the Pastoral Council.

All priests serving the parish are encouraged to participate in all Parish Pastoral Council meetings. The PPC should not, however, become a clergy meeting with parishioners on the fringes.

PPC’s are expected to be representative of all 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. Members of the PPC are not, however, representing particular groups. Their responsibility, individually and collectively, is for the whole parish.

Discerning the Membership:
Membership of a Parish Pastoral Council is a ministry of service to Christ and to the community of the Church which is his body. It is important, therefore, that the whole parish is invited to engage in a process of discernment, so that those who are called by the community are actually also those whom God is calling.  

A straight election is not always the best way to get the balance of gifts that are required for the pastoral leadership of the parish. An alternative possibility is a nomination process in which half the membership would be made up of those who have the highest number of nominations and the other half would be drawn from the remaining nominees, by a process which considers not only the nominations they received but also which of them would contribute to making up the best balance of skill sets, age groups, men and women, station areas in the parish etc.

The term of the PPC should be three or four years, as determined by the outgoing PPC  and should be notified to the parishioners  prior to the nomination / election of new members.   

No member should serve more than two consecutive terms.

When the Council is first established, arrangements should be made that at least one third of that first members group would resign a year before the others. This is to ensure that there is the possibility of some continuity between one Council and the next.


Officers
The parish priest is to be the President of the Council (Can. 536).  If he cannot attend a person nominated by him is to preside. A meeting of the Council in the absence of the Parish Priest or a person specifically delegated by him, has no validity.

The PPC is to host elections for a chairperson and secretary at its first meeting and again two years later. Both officers are to be encouraged to serve a two-year term.

Chairperson:
The chairperson will be chosen by the members for his or her capacity to lead the work of the Council:

  • involving all members in discussions and to
  • facilitating the smooth running of meetings
  • holding the Council to account for carrying out decisions taken

Secretary:
The secretary’s main function will be to circulate the agenda at least four days prior to each meeting and to take the minutes during the meeting.  The minutes should focus on recording what matters were discussed and what decisions were taken. They cannot be expected to include everything that everyone said and, in many ways, that would not always be helpful.

Officers may be re-elected but may not serve for more than four consecutive years.

Specific planning for the meetings of the PPC will be carried out in advance by the chairperson, secretary and parish priest.  Each member shares in the responsibility for the effectiveness of the Council and is encouraged to submit items for inclusion on the agenda at least one week before the meeting.  Time may also be given to agreeing an agenda at the end of each meeting. Consideration should be given, however, to whether the members need more time to consider and do some personal research on matters of particular significance for the parish.

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, email address and telephone number of their chairperson and secretary to the Diocesan Office, so that all PPCs can be contacted on important diocesan matters.

The chairperson and secretary of each PPC will be recognised as Link Persons with the diocese’s Pastoral and Faith Development Services’ Office.

In the event that the chairperson or secretary cannot attend a meeting the presider is to seek nominations for a temporary chairperson or secretary.

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 three consecutive meetings without a reasonable explanation will be deemed to have resigned.  Vacancies are to be filled by co-opting new members.

On-going formation is crucial to maintaining focus on the mission of the PPC.   One non-business meeting should take place each year, preferably with an outside facilitator, so that all the members can consider how the mission effectiveness of the Council can be maintained and strengthened. 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.

General Functioning
Each Parish Pastoral Council is to meet a minimum of eight 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. A quorum will consist of half of the membership and ideally decisions should be arrived at by consensus.

The role of the Parish Pastoral Council is to be consultative and advisory (Can 536. §2). Members should keep in mind that, like the Parish Priest, their mission is not to do everything themselves, but to facilitate the best use of the gifts of all the parishioners. With this in mind, the Council should recognise and promote the participation of all their fellow parishioners, in keeping with their responsibility as Baptised Catholics. As part of this process, the Council will periodically promote the faith formation of the parishioners and  seek the view of the whole body of parishioners on important matters. 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 , Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001).  

  • 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
  • Members are encouraged to express their views, to listen to each other and to respect the views of others. Even the seating arrangement at meetings can determine how people communicate. There should be no “top table” at the Parish Pastoral Council.
  • Each Parish Pastoral Council is encouraged to establish sub-committees to further agreed objectives and to co-opt other parishioners onto such sub-committees. Such sub-committees should regularly report to the PPC . Where objectives are time-limited, sub-committees will only continue in existence until their particular task has been completed.
  • Each PPC, while not losing its broader focus, is encouraged to invite representatives of other parish groups to meetings that focus on issues of interest or concern. Those invited to participate in this way will not, however, be involved in the decision making process of the Council.
  • The Parish safeguarding representative should be invited to come to a meeting of the PPC once each year to provide an assessment to the Council of the effectiveness of safeguarding procedures in the parish.
  • Meetings should be conducted efficiently and should never exceed two hours.

 

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
  • Encouraging participation in the liturgical life of the parish.
  • 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
  • Affirming and supporting other parish groups that contribute to the pastoral life of the parish
  • Developing / supporting the pastoral care of the parish for young people, for persons with disabilities, for the elderly and marginalised
  • Considering how newly arrived individuals and families can be welcomed in the parish community
  • Delegating responsibility for specific tasks to groups or individual persons of known competence, e.g. maintenance of parish property and certain financial responsibilities.
  • Support initiatives designed to promote care for the earth which is our common home
  • 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

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.

Finance and Property
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.

***

 

 

 

Introduction

It is the policy of the Elphin diocese that each of the diocese’s thirty-eight parishes have a single Parish Pastoral Council.

Thirty-eight or thirty seven parishes?

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.

Membership

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 deacon assigned to minister in 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)
  • Relevant volunteer pastoral ministers (e.g volunteer catechist; parish youth minister)
  • Members of the lay faithful nominated or elected by parishioners (see below)
  • A maximum of two members may be co-opted by the Pastoral Council.

All priests serving the parish are encouraged to participate in all Parish Pastoral Council meetings. The PPC should not, however, become a clergy meeting with parishioners on the fringes.

PPC’s are expected to be representative of all 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. Members of the PPC are not, however, representing particular groups. Their responsibility, individually and collectively, is for the whole parish.

Discerning the Membership:

Membership of a Parish Pastoral Council is a ministry of service to Christ and to the community of the Church which is his body. It is important, therefore, that the whole parish is invited to engage in a process of discernment, so that those who are called by the community are actually also those whom God is calling.  

A straight election is not always the best way to get the balance of gifts that are required for the pastoral leadership of the parish. An alternative possibility is a nomination process in which half the membership would be made up of those who have the highest number of nominations and the other half would be drawn from the remaining nominess, by a process which considers  not only the nominations they received but also which of them would contribute to making up the best balance of skill sets, age groups, men and women, townlands in the parish etc.

Would you consider using “station areas” instead of “townlands”?

The term of the Parish Pastoral Council should be three or four years and should be notified to the parishioners, whether in a written Constitution, or in Terms of Reference presented in advance of the election / nominations process. No member should serve more than two consecutive terms.

Who decides the length of the term?  Previous version left this decision with the PPC.

Might the phrase “whether in a written Constitution, or in Terms of Reference” suggest that a document other than this one takes precedence?  

In recent years many clergy and officers have favoured circulating this constitution in advance of requesting nominations and it has carried weight as something that applies to the whole diocese and something borne out of a diocesan-wide consultation.

When the Council is first established, arrangements should be made that at least one third of that first members group would resign a year before the others. This is to ensure that there is the possibility of some continuity between one Council and the next.

 Could the phrase “When the Council is first established” cause people to think that this only applies to parishes which are re-establishing a PPC after a time without one or to establishing a PPC for the first time?  Are we moving away from rotation of persons from different Church areas in different years? … There’s an argument for it.

Officers

The parish priest is to be the President of the Council (Can. 536).  If he cannot attend a person nominated by him is to preside. A meeting of the Council in the absence of the Parish Priest or a person specifically delegated by him, has no validity.

The PPC is to host elections for a Chairperson and Secretary at its first meeting and again two years later. Both officers are to be encouraged to serve a two-year term.

Chairperson:

The chairperson will be chosen by the members for his or her capacity to lead the work of the Council:

  • involving all members in discussions and to
  • facilitating the smooth running of meetings
  • holding the Council to account for carrying out decisions taken

Secretary:

The secretary’s main function will be to circulate the agenda at least four days prior to each meeting and to take the minutes during the meeting.  The minutes should focus on recording what matters were discussed and what decisions were taken. They cannot be expected to include everything that everyone said and, in many ways, that would not always be helpful.

Officers may be re-elected but may not serve for more than four consecutive years.

Specific planning for the meetings of the PPC will be carried out in advance by the chairperson, secretary and parish priest.  Each member shares in the responsibility for the effectiveness of the Council and is encouraged to submit items for inclusion on the agenda at least one week before the meeting.  Time may also be given to agreeing an agenda at the end of each meeting. Consideration should be given, however, to whether the members need more time to consider and do some personal research on matters of particular significance for the parish.

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 Diocesan Office, so that all PPCs can be contacted on important Diocesan matters. Each Council will have a link person with the Pastoral and Faith Development Office of the Diocese.

  • Can we add email address above?
  • As I manage that database for you, could the second sentence above, i.e. “Each Council will have a link person with ….” be replaced with the following  “The chairperson and secretary will also be recognised as link persons with the Pastoral and Faith Development Services Office of the diocese.”     …. Though there is an additional cost when I write, I find writing to both generates conversation and increases the likelihood of engageement.

 

In the event that the chairperson or secretary cannot attend the Presider is to seek nominations for a temporary chairperson or secretary.

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 three consecutive meetings without a reasonable explanation will be deemed to have resigned.  Vacancies are to be filled by co-opting new members.

On-going formation is crucial to maintaining focus on the mission of the Parish Pastoral Council. One non-business meeting should take place each year, preferably with an outside facilitator, so that all the members can consider how the mission effectiveness of the Council can be maintained and strengthened. 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.

That’s a very good inclusion.

General Functioning

Each Parish Pastoral Council is to meet a minimum of eight 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. A quorum will consist of half of the membership and ideally decisions should be arrived at by consensus.

The role of the Parish Pastoral Council is to be consultative and advisory (Can 536. §2). Members should keep in mind that, like the Parish Priest, their mission is not to do everything themselves, but to facilitate the best use of the gifts of all the parishioners. With this in mind, the Council should recognise and promote the participation of all their fellow parishioners, in keeping with their responsibility as Baptised Catholics. As part of this process, the Council will periodically promote the faith formation of the parishioners and  seek the view of the whole body of parishioners on important matters. The parish priest is strongly advised to give due consideration to the advice and recommendation of the Parish Pastoral Council.

The emphasis on faith formation is very good.

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 , Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001).  

  • 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

 

  • Members are encouraged to express their views, to listen to each other and to respect the views of others. Even the seating arrangement at meetings can determine how people communicate. There should be no “top table” at the Parish Pastoral Council.

 

  • Each Parish Pastoral Council is encouraged to establish sub-committees to further agreed objectives and to co-opt other parishioners onto such sub-committees. Such sub-committees should regularly report to the PPC . Where objectives are time-limited, sub-committees will only continue in existence until their particular task has been completed.

 

  • Each PPC, while not losing its broader focus, is encouraged to invite representatives of other parish groups to meetings that focus on issues of interest or concern. Those invited to participate in this way will not, however, be involved in the decision making process of the Council.

 

  • The Parish safeguarding representative should be invited to come to a meeting of the PPC once each year to provide an assessment to the Council of the effectiveness of safeguarding procedures in the parish.

 

  • Meetings should be conducted efficiently and should never exceed two hours.

 

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
  • Encouraging participation in the liturgical life of the parish.
  • 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
  • Affirming and supporting other parish groups that contribute to the pastoral life of the parish
  • Developing / supporting the pastoral care of the parish for young people, for persons with disabilities, for the elderly and marginalised
  • Considering how newly arrived individuals and families can be welcomed in the parish community
  • 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
  • Would you like to add a brief bullet point highlighting environmental question (Laudato Si) … something along the lines of … support and / or initiative parish-based programmes, events or activities  that illustrate how care for creation is an indispensable part of our Catholic faith.

 

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.

Finance and Property

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.