A Pastoral Council
“[The People of God] possess in common one salvation, one hope and one undivided charity. Because of the one dignity flowing from Baptism, each member of the lay faithful, together with ordained ministers and men and women religious, shares a responsibility for the Church's mission.”
Christifideles Laici, 15. (On the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful), Pope John Paul II, 1988.
Since the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), the Diocese of Auckland has operated with pastoral councils.
Pastoral councils are a recognition of the role of the laity; to collaborate with the clergy in shared responsibility for the total welfare of all the faithful throughout the diocese. Pastoral councils serve the mission of Christ by providing pastoral and spiritual care for their people.
The Bishop has a Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) Its members are elected and appointed from the regions, Maori and Ethnic communities, youth, religious and the Council of Priests.
Parish Pastoral Councils are distinct from Finance Committees. Pastoral councils decide on the priorities for the parish, region or pastoral area. The primary concerns of Pastoral Councils are the pastoral and spiritual needs of the people. The Finance Committees advises the Pastoral Council of the financial implications of such decisions and help the Pastoral Council budget and manage the finances.
A parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God's word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers.
Evangelii Gaudium, 28. (On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World), Pope Francis, 2013.
In 1971 it became mandatory for each parish in the Diocese of Auckland to have a parish pastoral council.
Members of the parish pastoral council work collaboratively with the parish priest to set the vision, plan the missionary endeavors and enable their community of faith to proclaim the message of Jesus.
What is a Parish Pastoral Council?
The Parish Pastoral Council is not a body of representatives but a representative body whose primary function is to set the vision and plan to make “the life and activity of the parish ever more closely conform to the gospel.” Their focus is on the pastoral aspect of the parish.
The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) consists of the Parish Priest and a team of parishioners chosen by the parish community. The Councillors work collaboratively to build a vital Christian community in which parishioners’ spiritual growth is fostered and their baptismal calls to mission are discerned and supported.
Parish Pastoral Councils are mandatory in the Auckland Diocese and the guidelines are issued to assist parishes become what Pope Francis describes as ‘the presence of God in a given territory, an environment in hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. Bishop Pat
In 2017, Bishop Patrick Dunn introduced revised Guidelines for Parish Pastoral Council to assist Councillors in their role in encouraging and training the faithful as indispensable agents of the new evangelisation. These were further reviewed in June 2020. The 2020 edition includes questions throughout the document that might be used by Councils to reflect on their role or as part of their ongoing formation as a Council. From the index the links will take you directly to the page. If you would like to receive a printed version of the guidelines please contact the Mission and Evangelisation Team. The cost for a printed copy is $10.00 inclusive of GST and postage.
The Guidelines offer a framework of principles, procedures and practical ideas for effective collaboration and co-operation between the clergy and the lay faithful in shared responsibility for leading the parish.
The Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines are divided into the following sections:
- Purpose, function and structure of Parish Pastoral Councils
- Pastoral Planning
- Pastoral Council Make-up and Terms of Office
- Selecting Parish Pastoral Councillors
- Executive and Committees
The Mission and Evangelisation Office provides formation sessions for parish pastoral councils and is willing to support councilors in their leadership ministry in the Church.
Sometimes you do not need a full copy of the guidelines, or you need a section that you can adapt to your particular circumstances and faith community.
These sections are offered to help with this
“In every diocese and to the extent that pastoral circumstances suggest it, a pastoral council is to be constituted which under the authority of the bishop investigates, considers, and proposes practical conclusions about those things which pertain to pastoral works in the diocese. ”Canon 511, Code of Canon Law, 1983
The Diocesan Pastoral Council is the Bishop’s Pastoral Council. Regional and community representatives from across the diocese meet four times a year. The DPC provides Bishop Pat advice, suggestions and feedback concerning diocesan pastoral ministry. It is a consultative body.
- Each of six regions is represented by both a man and a woman who serve for a maximum of two terms (six years).
- The religious of the diocese have a man and a woman representative.
- The Council of Priests has a representative.
- Young people have two representatives.
- Maori are represented by two members; one from Te Tai Tokerau and the other from Tamaki Makaurau.
- Five representatives are nominated by ethnic chaplains to serve the same terms as the elected regional members.
The DPC meets with the Bishop quarterly on a Saturday. The meeting includes formation sessions, liturgy, reports from various regions and communities as well as consultation by the bishop with councilors.