PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL – CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
ARTICLE I. PURPOSE AND SCOPE
Sec. 1 The parish pastoral council will unite the local people of God in a community of prayer, leadership, service, and pastoral action.
Sec. 2 The parish pastoral council will provide a vehicle for shared responsibility and decision making.
Sec. 3 The parish pastoral council will engage in a continuous process of planning and policy formation that responds to the needs of the parishioners, diocese, and universal church.
Sec. 4 The parish pastoral council will recognize the pastor as chief administrator of the parish and he will implement the policies of the council or delegate such action when appropriate. If the pastor judges a decision of the parish pastoral council as inconsistent for the good of the parish, he may withhold implementation, giving the council reasons for this action.
Sec. 5 Throughout its activities, the council will strive for consensus on all voting matters. The council’s policy decisions are to be consistent with faith and morals, civil and church laws, and diocesan policy and gospel value.
ARTICLE II. FUNCTIONS
Sec. 1 The functions of the council shall be:
- a) to communicate ideas and activities to and from their ministries or parish-at-large.
- b) planning and policy formation: with consideration of the needs of our parish, diocese, and broader community.
- c) implementation of plans through the appropriate ministry or individuals.
- d) to engage the people of God in connecting the gospel with lived experience.
ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP
Sec. 1 Size and composition:
- a) The parish pastoral council shall consist of:
- i) the pastor
- ii) ten members representing the ministries of the parish
iii) two participating, but nonvoting, youth representatives appointed by the Youth Coordinator for one-year terms
- b) The council members will be selected through a discernment process from nominations presented from each ministry and the parish at large. The discernment process will occur during the even years.
- c) Council members shall have a term of four Terms may be extended for up to four years in two year increments. The maximum number of years a council member may serve consecutively is eight years. Council members whose term expires in 2005 may extend their term for one year at their discretion.
- d) Council members who serve a full term may not succeed themselves on the council except by operation of Sec. 1, c) of these by-laws. There shall be an interim period of one year before such a member may serve on the parish pastoral council.
Sec. 2 Selection of new members:
- a) At the January meeting, the outgoing council members will comprise the discernment committee, choosing a chairperson from among themselves.
- b) Any registered member of the parish, 18 years or older, is eligible for nomination and participation in the discernment process.
- c) The discernment committee will conduct the discernment process for parish pastoral council membership as included in an addendum to these by-laws. A basic outline of this process is as follows:
- i) In January, each bulletin will contain information informing parishioners of the upcoming discernment process for council members and the number of vacancies to be filled. Information regarding the role and function of the parish pastoral council and the discernment process will be available on the parish website and publicized through the bulletin and other approved church media.
- ii) Nomination forms are provided to parishioners at all Masses the first weekend of February.
iii) Nominees are then contacted and asked whether or not they agree to participate in the discernment process.
- iv) A formation and education meeting for the discernment process is scheduled for late February or early March.
- v) After this meeting, participants are asked to reconfirm their willingness to participate in the process.
- vi) The discernment process begins in March and is completed by mid-May. Once consensus on members and alternates has been achieved, new members are announced to the parish.
Sec. 3 Vacancies:
- a) The remaining term of any vacancy on the council shall be filled by those persons who agreed to serve as alternates through the discernment process.
- b) Any member of the council may resign by submitting a written request to the chairperson.
- c) After three unexcused absences in a calendar year, a council member is automatically terminated.
Sec. 4 Officers:
- a) The officers of parish pastoral council shall be chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary and shall be an elected member of the council. Terms of office shall be for one year.
- b) The chairperson and vice-chairperson shall be elected by the members of the council by secret ballot without nominations from the floor. The council members receiving the most votes shall be chairperson; runner-up will serve as the vice-chairperson.
- c) The secretary shall be elected in the same manner as the chairperson and vice-chairperson.
- d) The election of the chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary shall be held at the first regular meeting of the council following the selection of new council members.
- e) Duties of the Officers:
- i) Chairperson – shall preside at all meetings of the council. The chairperson shall work in conjunction with the pastor to set the agenda for the council meetings. The chairperson can call special meetings of the council when needed. An outgoing chairperson, if at the end of a three-year council term, shall act as a consultant to the incoming chairperson for a period of six months.
- ii) Vice-Chairperson – shall assume all the duties of the chairperson when they are unable to serve because of death, resignation, or removal.
iii) Secretary – shall keep complete and accurate minutes of all council meetings and will publish council meeting minutes on the website as soon as they are approved. It shall be the duty of the secretary to provide proper notification of all the meetings, both regular and special to council members. The secretary shall perform all other duties incumbent upon a secretary.
ARTICLE IV. MEETINGS
Sec. 1 The council shall meet regularly at such time and place convenient to its members and jointly designated by the chairperson and pastor.
Sec. 2 Written notice of each meeting shall be given to the council members not less than five (5) days prior to each meeting. Such notice shall contain the date, time, and location of the meeting as well as a proposed agenda.
Sec. 3 All regular meetings of the council shall be open to all members of the parish with date and time published in the bulletin.
Sec. 4 A quorum shall be simple majority of the entire council, and shall be necessary for the adoption of proposals or recommendations.
Sec. 5 Decisions of the council shall be by consensus; if not possible, Roberts Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority.
Sec. 6 Should conflicts of interest between a council member and the affairs of the council be evident, as judged by the involved council member or by consensus of the council, it will be the duty of the involved council member to excuse him (her) self from voting on such affairs.
Sec. 7 The agenda committee shall consist of the pastor, chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary and shall meet prior to the regular council meeting, allowing for adequate time for preparation of the agenda and distribution to the council members. Agenda items can be submitted by any parish member.
ARTICLE V. SPECIAL MEETINGS
Sec. 1 Special meeting of the council may be called at the written request of at least four council members to the chairperson.
Sec. 2 Notice of such meetings shall be given not less than 24 hours prior to the meeting and shall state the time, place, and location of the meeting as well as its purpose. The agenda for such meeting shall be limited to the stated purpose of the meeting.
ARTICLE VI. MINISTRIES
Sec. 1 The parish pastoral council shall establish or cause to be established specific ministries for the betterment and well-being of the parish and/or community.
Sec. 2 These ministries shall include, but not necessarily be limited to:
- a) Christian Formation
- b) Human Concern and Outreach
- c) Parish Organizations
- d) Stewardship and Administration
- e) Liturgy
- f) Religious Education
- g) Youth
- h) Prayer
- i) Communication
- j) Parish and Family Life
- k) School
Sec. 3 Each ministry shall be responsible for drawing up guidelines that determine its membership, goals and operating procedures.
Sec. 4 Each ministry shall, from its own ranks, select a ministry head (chairperson).
Sec. 5 Each ministry shall have direct representation to the council by means of a council member who is elected by the parish.
Sec. 6 The principle of subsidiarity shall prevail in the ministry structure so that decisions are made at the lowest possible level.
ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENTS
Sec. 1 Amendments to the by-laws may be proposed at any regular meeting and by any member of the parish pastoral council.
Sec. 2 Upon proposal and after deliberation and discussion of any suggested amendment to the by-laws, a two-thirds majority of the council shall pass the proposed amendments to a second reading. All absent members must be duly notified in writing of the proposed amendment. At the second reading, seven (7) affirmative votes of the council, including written absentee votes, shall be necessary to adopt the proposed amendment.
Sec. 3 These by-laws and any future amendments hereto shall become effective immediately following their adoption and shall supersede all previous by-laws or amendments thereto.
Last Amended: 2/14/05