We’re living through an age of remarkable change in our church and in our culture’s attitude toward religion. While some aspects of the change are beyond our ability to control, there are some things we can do and have been doing. And a key element in guiding our parish through these uncertain times is our Pastoral Council.
Our Council was established according to the Guidelines for Pastoral Councils that the diocese published in 2002. There are nine members, each self-nominated. From that pool, and with the advice of current Council members, I appoint (as required) members to fill vacant seats. Members can serve for a maximum of six years (two terms) before stepping down. This year three seats will be open, and one present member is time-limited and cannot be reappointed. Thus this column, and the speakers at Mass two weekends ago.
The task of the Council is “to maintain the integrity of the parish mission and the objectives and goals related to it, not to run the day-to-day activities of the parish.” (Guidelines, B,1). In our parish the Council was the central body in developing our mission statement, We change lives through the Risen Christ, and the priorities by which we hope to accomplish our mission (printed on the cover of the Bulletin.) It was at the Council’s urging that we began the ongoing process of encouraging parishioners to listen for what God has to say to them at Mass and to write it down as a spiritual discipline. The Council also evaluates the effectiveness of our programs and services as a whole. You might say that the Council’s task is to look at the life of the parish with the “30,000-foot view”; it’s the work of ministry directors, staff, and volunteers in various ministries to do the “on the ground” work of making things happen.
We need, for the success of our mission and the responsible use of parishioners’ contributions (especially time and talent, but money as well), dedicated and prayerful parishioners to serve on the Council If you have talents in seeing the “big picture,” in working closely and collaboratively with others, in learning about the various forces shaping our church and to which we have to respond wisely – I invite you to consider nominating yourself for the Council. If you know someone who has these gifts, encourage him or her to step forward.
To apply, you send a brief letter describing what you think you can contribute, plus a signed Statement of Interest (available from the parish office or website), to me. The deadline is 5pm on May 18 (this Monday). I will circulate these materials to the current Council members, who then describe to me privately whether they consider each candidate highly qualified, qualified, or not qualified. From their recommendations I then invite people to serve.
If you’re concerned about the future of Catholic life in our parish, and about how we invest parishioners’ gifts in a time when we can’t do everything we’d like to do; and if you think you or someone you know has talents that would serve the parish well: I encourage you to learn more. Pick up a Statement of Interest to discover what’s required of a Council member. If you want to have a voice in the future direction of our parish, this is the way to do it. Until next week, peace.