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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
February 5, 1993     The Message
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February 5, 1993

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"*ulVidu ?ether Wo is the 'Tail Cils,,, :  of vaas: 5, 1993 The Message- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Pastoral Councils committee proposes guidelines or r,0000rish discussion and review article, Sis- ise Bond puts the call for parish pas- in historical Sister Bond re- coun- and then lists parish pas- necessary. LOUISE S.N.J.M. Chancellor 1992 Synod reported Synod Pas- Group (SPIG}. responsible for 82 document Councils. mailed to pas- council chair- week. The Synod Group has re- a minimum of ersons from each the pastor, ue the docu- it with com- 5, 1993. p_ : IIstorical Note le rlsll Councils are not ,, to' the Di "vans ...... ocese of yule. In fact they were egislated b th ,a . .... Y. e Third Dloce- iQlt", no0 In 1969. The sec- ' Church Or " " aakes th:- - . ganmahon, ',, . ' statement: h Parish shall ha vea vh , throu h !lCll "r'- " - g ltv sY, ests, religious and rn. tall exercise their ap- ,t v,tate and res mrist;_ , ponsible ,!!!tie; 'm roles and responsi- ere shall be estab- OFFICE  earish Councils." Francis Schroering, ffeetianatoly called Le, r 9f Pastoral Coun- 1 that 'the Diocese Je Was a leader in Parish Co, ti. ..... "edfrom pare B ofthe'nct on the interests ^ --le parish is disPish pastoral council t" ernin Disc kes ..,, . ernment erah Wce when council Ors listen prayerfully to the .FIoly Spirit as they are lCs:eC mm e n da tions s 0118 a Parlsh pastoral council D The Diocese of Evansville was among the first five dioceses in the United States to establish parish councils. Of the 73 parishes in the diocese, 66 have active parish councils. The guidelines being proposed for the Diocese of Evansville emphasize the pastoral purpose of parish councils. the development of parish and diocesan councils. In fact at the initiation of the decree, only five dioceses in the United States had councils and we were among that five." A Councils Office was es- tablished in 1969 to serve the Diocesan Pastoral Council and parish councils. This of- fice existed until 1976 when the Diocesan Pastoral Council was discontinued. 1993 In the Diocese at this time, 66 out of 73 parishes have ac- tive parish councils. The eleventh Synod goal, as stated by Bishop Gettelfin- ger, is "to ensure that Parish Pastoral Councils have a clear and consistent model with in- tegrated Finance Commit- tees." The need for this is clear when one listens to diverse experience around the dio- cese. Some see the council as: a democracy in which parishioners can speak ac- cording to parliamentary rules. an organization responsi- ble for carrying out parish events. a place to develop friend- ship. a group for the most ac- tive people. a mediator in parish con- flicts. a forum to express all viewpoints. a group to support the pastor or parish life coordina- tor. This list describes the many identities that parish councils actually have as ex- perienced by council mem- bers. It does not describe what a council ought to be. Draft Guidelines Not unlike much Church development since Vatican II, the notion of what a parish pastoral council is to be has changed. The work of the Synod Pas- toral Issues Group for Parish Pastoral Councils respects the early establishment of coun- cils in the Diocese. At the same time, the draft guide- lines reflect the growth and development of the council concept and propose a uni- fied direction which focuses on Mission and Ministry. The focus of the proposed guidelines emphasizes the pastoral nature of parish councils because of what is stated in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 536.1: "In every parish in the dio- cese, a Pastoral Council shall be established, if the diocesan Bishop, after consulting with the Council of Priests. so de- cides. The pastor presides over the Pastoral Council. The Pastoral Council is com- posed of members of the con- gregation together with those on the parish staff who have pastoral care by reason of their office. The Pastoral Council assists in promoting the pastoral action in the parish." For many parishes the no- tion of "pastoral action" is not new; perhaps only the language has changed. Others will be stretched by taking a new look at the purpose of parish pastoral councils. Why a council? There are many reasons why councils are necessary. For example, Parish Pastoral Councils do the following: 1) help to discern the needs of the parish and community by keeping their finger on the pulse of the parish; 2) help to set goals and pri- orities to respond to the needs of the parish and the community; 3) discover new skills and talents among parishioners; 4) provide a forum far dia- logue within the Christian community; 5) invite diverse people to work together to bring about greater unity; 6) bring together a variety of ministers -- priests, dea- cons, sisters, brothers, lay- men and laywomen; 7} make sure the parish gives top priority to the apos- tolic, missionary, and spiri- tual needs of the parish; C 8) implement Vatican II's teaching on the role of laity in the Church and the living out of their baptismal call; 9) are a means of parish re- newal; 10} provide the opportunity for shared prayer and for growth in the spiritual life; 11) foster a climate of mu- tual support and accountabil- ity; 12} provide their members an opportunity to share in participative decision making in a Christian context; 13) encourage members to broaden their vision beyond parish boundaries to include neighboring parishes, the community, the diocese, the Universal Church. Parish Councils are a vital ministry in the Church. The proposed Parish Council Guidelines seek to be a means to ensure this growth in the years ahead. More information about the proposed guidelines for Parish Pastoral Councils will be published in March. is prophetic. The council has the responsibility to have a vision of what the People of God are called to be. A parish pastoral council is enabling. Council members encourage the parish to grow as a people of faith and to take part in the building up of the Church. A parish pastoral council is collaborative. Oneness does not mean unanimity, but it does assume harmony. Even if there are different opinions, council members can promote collaboration by acting in the spirit of the gospel and for the good of the community. According to the proposal, each parish will determine the areas of ministry that will best serve the parish needs. \\; tIAIIIJlA00I0000]), . However, four standing com- mittes are proposed for all parish pastoral councils. The four committess are described below. Christian Education. Spiritual Life/Worship. Christian Social Action/ Community Outreach. Administration/Finance. Ad hoc committees may be established to develop a plan or policy in a particular area. The document also dis- cusses the role of the coun- cil's executive committee, a council constitution the mis- sion statement of a parish, goals and objectives, the scope of council authority, the various officers of a coun- cil. excerpts from the Code of Canon Law, a glossary and a bibliography.