A Pastoral Council consists of the Pastor together with a group of parishioners chosen by the parish community.
The Pastoral Council’s role is to promote the Church’s mission to live and communicate the love and values of Christ in our world.
The Pastoral Council shares in the responsibility for the ongoing life and development of the faith community, working together with parishioners to provide support for their efforts as followers of Christ.
Why have a pastoral council?
Pastoral Councils are one of the structures which were strongly recommended by the Bishops of the Second Vatican Council.
They witness to the basic equality of dignity of all members, by reason of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, highlighting the role of all to share in the saving mission of Jesus.
Pastoral Councils are part of the Vatican II movement towards shared responsibility and shared ministry.
Work of pastoral councils
Pastoral Councils seek to:
- search out and respond to the hopes, ideas, needs and concerns of parishioners
- grow in knowledge and awareness of what is already happening in the parish
- encourage and support the good work of existing groups within the parish
- evaluate carefully information gathered in order to contribute towards the making of decision that reflect the values of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church
- set long-term and short-term pastoral goals for the parish
- provide opportunities for parishioners to grow in their relationship with God and with each other to develop, implement and improve parish initiatives that assist parishioners in their continuing efforts to live as effective Christians in society
Establishing a Pastoral Council
The process of establishing a Pastoral Council will vary according to the characteristics and circumstances of each parish community.
A general outline of an effective establishment process would contain the following stages:
- Form a preparation group
- Communicate with parishioners
- Prepare Pastoral Council Guidelines
- Invite recommendation of possible members
- Provide an information meeting for recommended members
- Organise a prayerful selection meeting
- Commission the new Pastoral Council
- Arrange an initial formation and orientation session.
A recommended text
Handbook for Parish Pastoral Councils, third edition, (2007) by Cecilia Anning.
Contact Evangelisation Brisbane for more information on obtaining support in establishing and maintaining your parish pastoral council.