“[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.
Members of the parish pastoral council work collaboratively with the parish priest to set the vision, plan the mission and enable their community of faith to proclaim the message of Jesus. In 2014, 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. 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 Pastoral and Evangelisation Office provide formation sessions for parish pastoral councils to support the councilors in their leadership ministry in the Church.
The Bishop of Auckland expects all parishes in the diocese to have a pastoral council. Parishes in the Diocese of Auckland are geographically grouped in seven regions. These regional groupings are-
- Te Tai Tokerau
- North Shore
- South Auckland
Regions should also have pastoral councils to establish a network for exchanging pastoral initiatives and ideas among neighbouring parishes.
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.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.