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April 2, 1993     The Message
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April 2, 1993

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V SPECIAL SYNOD SECTION April Parish Pastoral Councils Policies and guidelines get favorable reaction from have been held. The guidelines were drawn up by members of the Synod Pastoral Issue Committee on Parish Pastoral Council Poli- cies and Guidelines. Earl Wells and David Rice are co- chairs of the committee. Helen Boettcher, a member of the Synod Central Planning Committee, is tile liaison be- tween the guideline commit- tee and the synod planning committee. After writing, consulting, re-writing and seeking more consultation, the fourth draft of the guidelines was sent in February to the staffs of all 73 parishes in the diocese. Re- sponses came from 52 per- sons -- pastors, pastoral life coordinators, parish council chairpersons, other staff members and parishioners at 29 parishes. Responses came from all seven deaneries: eight parishes from the Jasper Deanery; four each from Evansville East, Evansville West, and Princeton deaner- ies; and three each from Vin- cennes, Washington and Newburgh" deaneries. Those who responded were asked to rate the proposed guidelines on a scale of one to five, with one being lowest and five being highest. Marks were generally high, with the lowest (3.58) for how well re- By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor When Bishop Gettelfinger wrote in a column that "The synod is now!" he called at- tention to the planning work in progress. Developing guidelines for parish pastoral councils is one of the areas where a lot of work has been done and sev- eral rounds of consultation Characteristics listed for spondents thought parish- ioners would understand them, and the highest (4.37) given to the content of the proposal and the section ti- tles. Following are the averages of the responses ta seven statements. The Guidelines are clear to me: 4.18. The Guidelines contain all the content needed to un- derstand the nature of a parish pastoral council: 4.37. With study and group re- flection, the Guidelines would be understood by parishioners: 3.58. There is content consis- tency: 4:21. Terminology is throughout: 4.31. Section titles re well the content that 4.37. The Guidelines organized and flow 3.99. Sister Louise san chancellor, said to consult further on cies and guidelines April meetings with staffs. After this next consultation, the total Issue Col make further revisie draft proposal and sendl the Synod delegates. Parish Pastoral Councils By SISTER LOUISE BOND, S.N.J.M O4ocesan Chancellor : HOw: :you:d$cribe the ideal p/irish /:'iinl]? Here is one way: Members of the ideal parish pastoral council are prayerful, pastoral, repre- sentative, discerning, Plarophetic, enabling and col- bomtive. That description comes from the proposed 1993 Parish Council Policies and Guidelines for the Diocese of Evansville. Some of these words have particular meaning when they are applied" to parish pastoral councils. The follow- ing descriptions of the char- acteristics will try to clarify the meaning of each word. 1. A Parish Pastoral Coun- cil is prayerful. As men and women of faith, council members are also men and women of prayer. They know how im- portant it is to center their lives in Christ and shape them through Christ's exam- ple in the Gospel. Prayer helps persons know where God is in theft lives, A parish pastoral council needs to pray together, so that as a leadership group they may draw closer to one an- other and those whom they serve. 2. A Parish Pastoral Coun- cil is pastoral. Parish pastoral council members, along with the pas- tor/pastoral life coordinator and staff, are asked to help provide ways to meet the needs of the community. To- gether council and other parish members are to be con- cerned with the best way to live out the mission and min- is of the parish, Members a r iske F5'] l"s t e n Carefully and attentively to what others are saying. Ministering to oth- ers is the responsibility of everyone. To be pastoral is to be caring. 3. A Parish Pastoral Coun- cil is representative. To be representative means that council members act in the best interests of the whole parish. Being representative means to take seriously being the "one bread, one body," which is Christ. 4. A Parish Pastoral Coun- cil is discerning. Discernment, put simply, is detecting the movement of the Holy Spirit in one's life, family and community. The Council needs to be discern- ing because it is God's Spirit that leads members forward in the work of building the Reign of God. Discernment is ossible when council mem- ers listen prayerfully to the Holy Spirit as they are mak- ing recommendations and de- cisions. 5. A Parish Pastoral Coon. cil is prophetic. To be prophetic means to see and to have a vision of who the People of God are called to be. To be prophetic also means to have a keen sense of God's justice for the poor, the disad- vantaged and the marginal- ized. 6. A Parish Pastoral Coun- cil is enabling. Each parish pastoral coun- cil member is called to grow in Christ's life and to invite others,into the journey. Christ. asks us to participate in the teaching, healing, preaching and worshiping ministry. When others are encouraged to use their gifts to help build the community of faith and take part in the building up of the Church, this is said to be enabling. Council members are offered the opportunity to work with volunteers. 7. A Parish Pastoral Coun- cil is collaborative. "Collaboration" essentially means "working together," and it goes beyond just the tasks of being an effective parish pastoral council. The word should describe the re- lationship between pastor/pastoral life coordina- tor and council, the council and staff, the parish and the diocese. The work of Christ requires that everyone who serves through leadership is to pursue common goals and values that arise out of the Gospel. Parish Councils have been in existence in the Diocese of Evansville for nearly 25 years. Perhaps the language of planning, Mission State- ment, Goals, Objectives, Ac- Lions or Strategies, is new for some. Perhaps others have not reflected on the qualities a council needs to develop. Further, depending on the history of each parish coun- cil, council members may need to "shift gears" in order to fully realize their potential as servants of the People of God. A program of training will be provided if the Synod approves the guidelines. Synod Deanery Mee scheduled for pastoral Following is the 1993 schedule for parish members who meet for deanery-wide consL ters relating to Synod '93: Evansville East Deanery April 21, 3 to 5 p.m. at Nativity Church, May 27, 3 to 5 p.m. at St. Mary Church, Evansville Evansville West Deanery April 20, 1 to 3 p.m. at Resurrection Church May 18, 1 to 3 p.m. at Resurrection Church, Newburgh Deanery April 13, 7 to 9 p.m. at St. John Church, Newburgh May 10, 7 to 9 p.m. at SL Bernard Church, Rockport Princeton Deanery April 15, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at St. James Church, May 13, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at St. James Church, Jasper Deanery April 2, I to 3 p.m. at Precious Blood Church, jasper May 7, 1 to 3 p.m. at Precious Blood Church Washington Deanery " April 22, 7 to 9 p.m. at Sts Peter and Paul, PetersbttrSi May 27, 7 to 9 p.m. oat St. Simon Church, Vincennes Deanery April 1, 7 to 9 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, May 6, 7 to 9 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church,