CURRENT MEMBERSHIPPresiding: Very Rev Peter Owens PP (Tel: 028 93363269 Fax: 028 9335 5073, Parish Office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Chair: Mary McCormack ( Email: email@example.com )
Vice-Chair: Paul Smith
Secretary: (currently vacant)
Other Members: Patrick Arkins, Claire Bagshaw, Martin Dempster, Julie Elliott, Siobhán Gilmore, David Gorman, Patrick Quinn and Robert Sweeney.
WHAT IS THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL?
A Pastoral Council is a partnership of clergy and laity consulting and working together to enable the parish community fulfil it's mission.
WHAT IS THE MISSION OF THE PARISH?
The final words of Matthew's gospel records Jesus' great commission to His Church: "go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples., baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age". (Matthew 28: 19-20)
This is the task of the Church in the World and each parish community and each individual Christian has a role to play in the fulfilling of this task.
However, our ability to respond to this call will depend on the extent to which we allow our parish become a living, growing, healthy community of faith. It is the role of the Pastoral Council to encourage and nurture this. It endeavours to build up the community of faith, not for its own sake, but in order that it might be a force for good (or rather, a force for God), as it reaches out, intent on making a real difference in the wider community and world.
BUT WHAT DOES THE PASTORAL COUNCIL ACTUALLY DO?
The first task of the Pastoral Council is to help the parish identify and define its particular mission, at this particular time, within the overall mission of the Church. In this way it gives the parish a real sense of purpose and a vision to work towards.
But its work must not end there. It must then decide on priorities and set goals for appropriate pastoral activity in a wide range of areas, such as in Faith Formation, Education and Personal Growth; Development of Worship, Prayer and relevant Liturgy; encouragement of Support groups; Youth Ministry; Ecumenism; Evangelisation; Work for Peace and Justice; Community Development and Good Relations etc. The list of possibilities is endless. It is not the role of the council to carry out these tasks itself. Members may contribute to various areas of ministry as individuals, but with everyone in the parish using their God-given gifts, together we can build a living, growing, healthy community of faith. Together we really can make a difference.
The Life Cycle of the Christian Community
WHO CAN SERVE ON THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL?
At the present time over a third of the 88 parishes in the Down and Connor diocese have Pastoral Councils. Each parish has its own way of deciding on the membership. Our parish uses a process of nomination by parishioners and selection. Service is normally for a period of three years, although this can be extended.
Members of the Pastoral Council are expected to be baptised and confirmed Catholics in good standing with the Church and participating members of the parish of Carrickfergus. Members should display at least some of the following characteristics:
be willing to learn and open to change; be able to look ahead, beyond what is possible in the present; have a caring attitude and approach towards people; value and support teamwork; be keen to build up and preserve the unity of the parish; keep prayer at the centre of all activity; have common sense and the ability to make decisions; have a committed but detached attitude to roles and tasks (not holding them as private property); aim to enable and involve others; be there for well-being of all members of the parish, particularly those most easily overlooked; have a heart for Christian unity and cross-community contact.
BUT WHAT POWER DOES A PASTORAL COUNCIL REALLY HAVE?
The pastoral is consultative (See Can. 536). This is not to diminish it's role. Consultation properly understood and exercised in the right spirit can be a source of empowerment and life for the parish community. The Second Vatican Council recommended the establishment of such councils and stated that people have a right and duty to express their opinion on what pertains to the good of the church. By establishing a Pastoral Council the priest acknowledges the wisdom of his parishioners and gives them the task of investigating, considering and reflecting on all matters relating to the life of the parish. He invites them to draw conclusions and make recommendations. While he is not obliged to act on their recommendations it is unlikely he not to accept good advice.
WHAT HAPPENS AT PASTORAL COUNCIL MEETINGS?
The monthly council is a combination of prayer, study, reflection planning and reviewing. The amount of time devoted to each of these may vary, depending of the needs at the time and on the leading of the Spirit. However it is expected that all planning and action should be born out of prayer, study and reflection.
CONTACT DETAILSVery Rev Peter Owens PP
Tel: 028 93363269
Mary McCormack, (Chair) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Office Email: email@example.com
Parish Pastoral Councils- by Mark F. Fischer
Everything you wanted to know about Parish Pastoral Councils but were afraid to ask!
INTRODUCTION COURSE ON PASTORAL COUNCILS
(Excellent resource from Mark F. Fischer)