THE PASTORAL COUNCIL
A Parish Pastoral Council is a consultative body. (For information on how the councils are specified in Canon Law, refer to Canon 511-514, 536, and 537.) Through this council, the pastor is able to seek input on pastoral concerns as well as avail himself of the assistance needed for long-range pastoral planning. In this relationship, the council makes recommendations and the responsibility for final decisions belongs to the pastor.
Our council currently meets approximately once each month. The council members spend additional time outside of meetings in following up on action items assigned at the meetings and/or studying supplementary materials pertaining to council discussions. Our meetings begin and end in prayer and may include education/formation, study, reflection, and discussion.
At St. Margaret Mary's Church, it was decided that our Parish Pastoral Council would consist of 10 members. In order to maintain continuity, the initial council members have 2-, 3-, and 4-year terms in order to stagger the change of membership. Thereafter, membership will consist of a 3-year term. Terms are renewable one time.
All members of the council have equal roles, but there are several offices which are necessary for organizational purposes. The pastor always presides at council meetings, but the meeting is facilitated by a chairperson, who is also responsible for setting the agenda in collaboration with the pastor and the rest of the council. There is a vice-chairperson who is responsible for facilitation when the chairperson is absent. There is a secretary who is responsible for keeping track of the meeting minutes and recording official decisions.