During 2012/2013, parish pastoral council recognized, across the board, that there was confusion among parish council members as to what exactly our mandate and purpose is. While outlined in the constitution, the document did not seem to reflect current realities, capabilities, or structures within the parish at this time.
Our presider at the time, Bishop Gary, counselled us to explore our purpose, through familiarizing ourselves with Church teaching on the subject as well as reading reputable sources on the subject.
We chose to read, as a council, “Making Parish Councils Pastoral” by Mark Fischer. Fischer brings great experience to the table in his book, which features case studies of parishes around North America. He presents a model of Pastoral Council formation and direction that looks a little different than what we have done so far but was received positively by this council. Rather than inventing a new model, he draws heavily from canon law and outlines the original intent at the outset of the episcopal discussion of parish/pastoral councils during Vatican II. This model has been adopted by parishes around Canada and the US and great summary is offer here their Pastoral Parish Council Guidelines.He listed several references to the large deposit of Church letters, decrees and more that reference the pastoral council as a committee to serve the pastor.
In September 2014, we held a workshop for current council members and some past council members, to explore his model further. Council is hoping to form, in conversation with our Pastor, a sub-committee to look at our current constitution in light of this model and present findings and recommendation to the Pastoral administration and parish of Sacred Heart. We have found a helpful example in the Foundation Document for Pastoral Councils in the Diocese of St. Boniface in Manitoba.
Please feel free to attend any parish council meeting to share your thoughts. We meet the fourth Tuesday of every month excluding December, June, July and August. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to receive a call from a council member for more information.
PARISH COUNCIL MEMBERS
President: Fr. Slawomir Szwaggrzyk Chair: Cecilia Fraser Vice-Chair: Maria Gray Secretary: Ryan Sikkes Manlig Robert Soprovich Eric James Daniel Caudle Ammilou Pelayo Myriam Lafrance Maria Susan Mariano
Sacred Heart Parish council is reaffirmed every year at the AGM. Any vacancies are filled by election.
The Diocese of Saskatoon has provided some great insight and reflection on the role of Parish Pastoral Councils and we would like to share a bit here:
"Parish Councils originated in the spirit of Vatican II. The Parish Councils that developed were largely administrative in their functioning. Today, Parish Councils are moving into another realm indicated by their new title, Parish Pastoral Councils. The focus has shifted from the administrative, dealing primarily with buildings and finance, to the pastoral needs of the parish. This is in keeping with the spirit of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, which refer to the apostolate of the Church to be fulfilled by all, pastors and lay people working together in collaboration."
In the Parish Pastoral Council, “which is presided over by the parish priest, Christ’s faithful, together with those who by virtue of their office are engaged in pastoral care in the parish, give their help in fostering pastoral action. The pastoral council has only a consultative vote, and it is regulated by the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop.” (Code of Canon Law, 536 s.1 and 2)
The laity, “sharing in the function of Christ, priest, prophet and king…have an active part of their own in the life and activity of the church…The laity should develop the habit of working in the parish in close cooperation with their priests, of bringing before the ecclesial community their own problems, world problems, and questions regarding humanity’s salvation, to examine them together and solve them by general discussion.” (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, 10)