St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church, Est. 1865
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The Pastoral Council: Its Purposes And Functions

The New Practical Guide for Parish Councils, W. Rademacher

Organized after the Second Vatican Council, parish pastoral councils have become part of the post-councilar expression of shared responsibility and shared ministry in the church. They witness to the basic equality of all the baptized. They serve as models of the church as a communion of the People of God.

A parish pastoral council is an organism of shared ministry that plans and coordinates the overall policy of the parish in order to carry out the mission of Christ in the church. It is a consultative body of leaders within the boundaries of the doctrine, liturgy, and laws of the church. The revised Code of Canon Law, c 536, #1, in providing their formation states:

The pastor presides over the Pastoral Council. The Pastoral Council is composed of members of the congregation together with those on the parish staff who have pastoral care by reason of their office. The Pastoral Council assists in promoting pastoral action in the parish.

Functions of the Pastoral Council

  • to pray together, to nurture faith and reflect on the gospel
  • to be a sign of a truly Christian community before the church and the world
  • to provide servant leadership and direction for the parish by enabling parish people to share responsibility for parish life
  • to engage families in parish planning and overall policies for parish ministry and mission
  • to serve as a permanent, but flexible, structure for constructive dialogue in fulfilling Christ's saving mission
  • to assure through its committees a continuous and integrated survey of both spiritual and temporal needs of the parish, community and diocese and after setting priorities, to provide for the development and implementation of programs aimed at meeting these needs
  • to coordinate parish activities with the deanery councils and with the diocesan pastoral council
  • to identify, support and maximize the gifts and talents of all the members of the parish and provide for the training of lay ministries
  • to be stewards of all parish resources and gifts: personnel, facilities, and monies

      St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church - Huntsville, Alabama