Pastoral Council Mandates
The Pastoral Council provides the pastor with the wisdom of the laity for the good of the parish. Because of their knowledge and competence, the members of the council are called to share with one another and with the pastor their insights honestly, with courage and prudence. And so, the parish is strengthened by the unity of effort achieved in reverence and charity. (From Blessing of Pastoral Council)
Canons 211; 216. The Christian faithful have a right and duty to participate in the Church’s work of evangelization and missionary action.
Canons 212—§§2, 3; 228. The Christian faithful have a right to make known their needs, desires, and opinions to their pastors and can be called upon to serve in offices as well as to serve as experts or advisors (c.).
Canon 529—§2. Pastors have a responsibility to acknowledge and promote the role of the faithful in the mission of the Church.
Canon 536—§1. …a pastoral council is to be established in each parish. In this council, which is presided over by the parish priest, Christ’s faithful, together with those who by virtue of their office are engaged in the pastoral care of the parish, give their help in fostering pastoral action.
Canons 536; 537. Pastors have a responsibility to preside over parish pastoral and finance councils in order to receive the consultation necessary for the fulfillment of their pastoral role.
- Prayerful. The work of the council is rooted in personal and communal prayer, which binds, centers, and guides the good judgment of the council.
- Discerning. The council recognizes that the Holy Spirit is at work among the members and the Spirit’s promptings must be attended to if the council is to reflect upon issues with Gospel clarity.
- Pastoral. The council approaches its service to the parish in a spirit of pastoral care and with concern for all members of the community.
- Prophetic. The council articulates a vision of what the people of God are called to be. Being prophetic demands that we have a keen sense of God’s justice for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized. It does not mean seeing into the future.
- Enabling. The council seeks the means to identify the gifts of parishioners, enable those gifts to be shared with the community, and foster volunteerism.
- Collaborative. Council members seek to work together by carefully listening to one another, saying what one believes to be true or needed, and moving towards the common good of the parish.
Article 1: Definition
By-laws are the rules governing the operation of the Saint Ignatius Pastoral Council.
Article 2: Purpose
1. The pastor shall consult with the council to: a. Share responsibility for guiding the parish in accord with the principles of the Society of Jesus. b. Provide recommendations in setting broad policy directions for the parish. c. Provide an open, honest, and respectful forum of communication and dialogue regarding parish affairs. 2. The council shall plan with the pastor for present and future needs: a. Collaborate with the pastor in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of an on-going pastoral plan, which includes prioritizing goals and allocation of assets. b. Make recommendations on the proposed annual budget. c. Seek input from knowledgeable parishioners. d. Establish surveys and questionnaires for the parishioners. e. Develop a program encouraging parishioners to assume leadership roles in the parish for all the varied ministries, particularly with respect to the pastoral council membership.
Article 3: Manner of Operation
1. The preferred way of proceeding is to arrive at recommendations by consensus. 2. Should arriving at a consensus prove impossible, recommendations can be approved by at least six council members. Members are expected to show unanimity with the adopted recommendation.
Article 4: Membership
The council shall consist of the following ten members: the pastor, six elected members, two members appointed by the pastor, and one member chosen by the finance council. The council shall consist of no less than nine and no more than twelve members and the pastor. One member will be chosen by the Finance Council.
Article 5: Elections
1. Eligible candidates will have reached the age of 18, be confirmed, and be registered members of the parish who, if they have previously served on the council, have not done so for at least a year. 2. By October 1st of each year, the council will choose a nominating committee among no less that three of its members who orchestrate all aspects of the election. 3. Parishioners will be invited to submit their own or others’ names to the nominating committee for consideration. The nominating committee will contact those nominated by others to learn if they are willing to be considered. 4. Thirty days prior to the election, committee will sponsor an orientation for all nominees: a. Using this mandate to explain the workings of the council and the duties of its members. b. Conversing with nominees about their experience of the parish and their desire to serve. 5. Shortly thereafter, the pastor and the committee will assess each nominee and prepare the slate of at least three candidates. 6. The candidates will submit a head shot and a short description of who they are and why they wish to serve to the committee. 7. The slate of candidates will then be published to the parish with the above candidate information. 8. Parish-wide voting will occur over the weekends of the 1st and 2nd Sundays of Advent. 9. The nominating committee will determine election procedures, conduct the election, count the electronic and paper ballots, resolve any conflicts and determine the outcome of any tie votes.
Article 5: Method of Selection
1. Eligible candidates will have reached the age of 18, be confirmed, and be registered members of the parish who, if they have previously served on the council, have not done so for at least a year. 2. By October 1st of each year, the council will choose a nominating committee among no less than three of its members who orchestrate all aspects of the election. 3. Parishioners will be invited to submit their names to the nominating committee for consideration over a three-week period by filling out the online form which will be in the ezine. Those who have submitted their names will be contacted by a member of the nominating committee for an initial conversation. 4. After three weeks have passed, nominations will close. The forms submitted by candidates will be shared with all the members of the Pastoral Council. At its next scheduled meeting, the Council will review, discuss, and approve by consensus the new members. 5. If the number of candidates would raise the membership of the Council to more than twelve members and the pastor, or if the consensus is that a given candidate should not serve at this time, the President of the Council will explain the candidates affected the Council’s decision. 6. The new members will be announced to the parish in the ezine.
Article 6: Terms of Office
1. New terms begin on January 1st. 2. Elected members serve for three consecutive years. 3. Appointed members serve at the pleasure of the Pastor with a three-year maximum. 4. The representative of the finance committee serves as a condition of his position.
Article 6: Terms of Office
1. New terms begin on January 1st. 2. All members other than the pastor and the representative of the Finance Council serve for three consecutive years. 3. The pastor and Finance Council representative serve ex officio.
Article 7: Vacancies
1. Any member of the council may submit a written resignation to the pastor. 2. A member of the council who is absent for more than four meetings in a calendar year will resign or be removed. 3. Any elected member of the council may be removed for good cause by a vote of at least six council members. 4. When a member resigns or is removed, the pastor shall consult the council and appoint another person to fill out the remainder of the vacated term.
If resignations or removals lower the membership to less that nine members and the pastor, the pastor shall consult the Council and appoint another person to fill out the remainder of the vacated term.
Article 7: Officers
1. The pastor is the president of the council. 2. The council, as the first order of business of a new term, will elect a chairperson, vicechairperson, and a secretary by a show of hands. 3. The chairperson shall: a. In consultation with the pastor prepare and distribute a draft agenda one week before a scheduled meeting and initiate actions mandated in this document. b. Preside over and facilitate all meetings, allotting time for each item on the agenda and invite the opinions and thoughts of each member. c. Perform duties set forth by the council. 4. Vice Chairperson shall perform the meeting duties of the Chair when the Chairperson is absent. 5. Secretary shall: Maintain minutes of all meetings and preserve them in a permanent form. Minutes should be distributed to members one week prior to the next meeting. a. Make the minutes available to parishioners on the parish website after approval by the pastor. b. Perform duties as the council might direct. c. Transfer all records to next secretary at end of term.
Article 8: Meetings
1. All meetings open and close with prayer. The chairperson shall assign various members in rotation from meeting to meeting to lead prayer. 2. Regular Council meetings will be held monthly except for July and August. 3. Dates and reasons for special meetings will be established by the council. 4. The secretary will publish the date for all meetings. With consent of the pastor, council may admit and seek the input of parishioners for part or all of a given meeting. 5. A quorum (the pastor and two-thirds of the other council members) (the pastor and six of the other council members) is required for all official meetings of the council and for the validity of:
a. Formal recommendations to the pastor. b. The election of officers. c. The ratification of amendments to this document.
The lack of a quorum does not exclude informal consultation and discussion with the pastor.
Article 10: Ratification and Amendments
With the consent of the pastor, this document may be amended by consensus or a simple majority of council members present and voting at any meeting with a quorum. Changes are effective immediately. Unanimously accepted by the Council 12.13.21