Canon Law # 536 states: “… a pastoral council is to be established in each parish. In this 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 principal role of the council is pastoral planning. Pastoral planning is meant to ensure that the mission and vision of the diocese and parish guide the community into the future. Pastoral planning involves: Discerning the will of God for the parish community by identifying, assessing and prioritizing pastoral needs. Setting goals and developing objectives in order to meet those needs and recommending courses of action to the pastor or pastoral team members.
The implementation of programming and ministry objectives is inconsistent with the council. The council plans so that the ministry that needs to happen does indeed happen. They are not the task people who do the ministry work.
In providing recommendations or rendering decisions, councils are to function through consensus.
No commission, committee or group is to report to the parish pastoral council. All ancillary bodies are accountable to the pastor and / or a pastoral team member.
In this parish the council members will need to be open to the needs of the poor and have a concern for justice, want to help people grow in their spirituality and empower laity to share their gifts in the parish. Some areas of concern are: the reality of the fundraising drive; new members and the need for inclusion and welcome; the need to get more people involved in the life of the parish; an operating deficit in the parish; a review of parish ministries, ongoing formation and guidelines for parish ministers; liturgy especially music ministry.