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​​​​​​Pastors/administrators and others in charge of a parish are required to consult with the laity of the parish, who in turn have the right to express their views and concerns. The Parish Pastoral Council fosters this collaboration because it allows the faithful and the pastor/administrator or other ministerial leaders to share their reflections about the parish's mission and ministry and to plan for parish life in light of the Gospel and Church teaching. See the Manual for Parish Pastoral Councils​.

In the archdiocese the role of the Parish Pastoral Council is centered on pastoral planning, which includes periodically evaluating the parish mission statement, assessing ongoing needs, defining parish goals, and setting the strategies for implementing those goals. Evaluation of the parish's progress in carrying out the Church's mission is also a core obligation of a Parish Pastoral Council. The emphasis is on listening and planning for a parish and working closely with those staff and volunteers who are actually charged with implementing the mission through their various ministries and groups.

In the archdiocese the following principles guide each Parish Pastoral Council:

  • It is a consultative body with the role of advising and assisting the pastor/administrator or the person in charge of the parish in developing a parish pastoral plan and providing input on issues of pastoral concern.

  • It develops a mission statement that reflects the identity and mission of the parish in light of the Gospel, Church teachings, and the specific realities of the parish.

  • It acts through a consensus process and prayerful reflection.

  • It should be representative of the entire parish, recognizing and reflecting the parish's rich diversity.

  • It collaborates with parish committees that address specific areas of parish life, such as worship, spirituality, evangelization, religious education, finance, and service.

When leadership at a parish changes, the newly designated pastor/administrator or other person in charge is encouraged to convene the existing Parish Pastoral Council promptly and discuss with the members his or her plans for the parish and for the Parish Pastoral Council. The newly appointed parish leader has the prerogative to continue the existing Parish Pastoral Council or initiate a process to select new members during the leader's initial year.

The archdiocesan policies on Parish Pastoral Councils are detailed in Communion & Consu​ltation: Pastoral Council Guidelines (English version and Spanish version​), a handbook developed by the archdiocesan Synod Implementation Office, which is available online and from the Office of New Evangelization. The San Gabriel Pastoral Region developed an Implementation Guide for Parish Pastoral Councils​, which is available as a useful reference for any parish in the archdiocese.​