Parish Leadership

On Sunday 17th September 2017 Bishop Noel Treanor enthusiastically approved and publicly launched our Pastoral Plan with Father Owens while celebrating the morning Masses in Carrickfergus and Whitehead. Copies were given to Parishioners afterwards.

Parish Pastoral Council

The Parish Pastoral Council consists of 11 members plus the Parish Priest.

The term of office is 4 years.

THE MEMBERS ARE: Fr Peter Owens President
Mary Mc Cormack Chair
Paul Smith Vice Chair
Secretary (Vacant)
Claire Bagshaw, Julie Elliot, Siobhan Gilmore, Patrick Arkins, David Gorman, Patrick Quinn, Robert Sweeney, Martin Dempster, Petar Šago, Jason Charewicz

What does a PPC do?

The primary task of the Pastoral Council is to help the Parish identify and define its mission, at this 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. In order to help bring to fulfilment, this mission for our Parish, the PPC have prepared a 3 year Pastoral Plan organised into 5 distinct themes:-

· Open, Welcoming Community

· Faith and Worship

· Our Parish Priest and Lay Ministries

· Lay Participation

· Passing on the Faith

The Carrickfergus and Whitehead Parish Pastoral Plan was developed taking into consideration the five themes of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan 2013. It also refers to the outcomes of a listening event when Parishioners identified Parish priorities emerging from the Year of Mercy.

However 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.

The list of possibilities is endless. It is not the role of the Parish 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 PPC is involved in most activities and programmes, affecting the liturgical and spiritual life of Carrickfergus and Whitehead Parish. A Pastoral Council is a partnership of clergy and laity consulting and working together to enable the parish community fulfil its mission.


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 selected personally by Father Peter himself. Service is normally for a period of four 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.


The pastoral is consultative (See Can. 536). This is not to diminish its 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, that he will not accept/consider good advice.


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.


Very Rev Peter Owens PP
Tel: 028 93363269
Mary McCormack, (Chair)  Email:
Parish Office Email:


Parish Pastoral Councils– by Mark F. Fischer
Everything you wanted to know about Parish Pastoral Councils but were afraid to ask!

(Excellent resource from Mark F. Fischer)