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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.  Those in charge have the freedom to consult as they see fit about any practical matter.  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.

In the archdiocese the role of the parish pastoral council is centered on pastoral planning.  Pastors and administrators who consult the council about the future of the parish may ask it to:

  • periodically evaluate the parish mission statement
  • assess ongoing needs
  • define parish goals, and
  • establish the strategies for implementing those goals.

Pastors and administrators may also ask the council to evaluate the parish's progress in carrying out the Church's mission.  At the invitation of the pastor, the council listens and plans for the parish, 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.  Pastors and administrators may consult with the council about developing a parish pastoral plan and providing input on issues of pastoral concern.

  • A pastor or administrator may consult the council in developing 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.

  • Pastoral councils seek consensus through prayer, and may use a variety of parliamentary processes to achieve their aims.

  • The pastoral council represents the entire parish, but not necessarily in a demographic, geographical or ideological sense.  Instead, it represents the parish's rich diversity by seeking to make Christ present to all.

  • In consulting the council, pastors and administrators may ask it to collaborate 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 any plans for the parish and for the 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 the Guidelines for Parish Pastoral Councils (English version and Spanish version​).​