The Parish Pastoral Council is a consultative body of 10-12 people chosen from and by the parish community who, together with the parish Pastor, guide and determine the direction of the parish.
The Parish Finance Council is often a smaller group of professionals chosen by the Pastor to serve as an advisory body to the Pastor and to the Parish Pastoral Council in the administration and stewardship of parish finances, budget, parish facilities and long-range financial development.
Discernment is the recommended process of identifying new members for the Parish Pastoral Council, since it relies consciously on the prayerful presence of the Spirit, the sharing of candidates’ gifts and talents, and the affirmation of everyone’s generosity with their gifts, whether they are chosen or not. The steps generally include:
- Communication in bulletin and from pulpit about the need for and role of Pastoral Council members (Current Councils members could speak at Mass, as well as the Pastor);
- Gathering nominations from the parish at large – during Mass and through parish office;
- Current Council members assist with calling all those nominated to invite them to an information session – prior to any decisions being made;
- Conduct the information session (see resources), concluding with a personal reflection exercise for each potential Council member;
- Those who believe they are called to continue the process participate in a discernment retreat (see resources) during which, in the context of prayer, the needs of the parish as well as the gifts and talentes, hopes and dreams, fears and concerns of all candidates are shared among all present.
- In the discernment retreat, the selection of new Council members takes place and is affirmed by the Pastor.
Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines pp. 30-40