2.2 What is a Parish Pastoral Council?
A Parish Pastoral Council is a team comprising a number of parishioners and parish leaders with their Parish Priest.
The Council's role is to offer considered advice and assistance to their Parish Priest on ways to foster pastoral action - action which is centred on and inspired by Jesus Christ; action which proclaims the gospel in terms that are relevant for members of the community; action which builds the parish community as a communion for mission.
The Council carries out this role by:
- adopting a listening attitude towards the community,
- having the whole parish community in view - its past, present and future,
- exploring the needs, hopes and gifts of the community,
- praying and reflecting on these needs, hopes and gifts so as to discern the distinct areas of mission for the community and the gifts of its members,
- learning how to create effective and evangelizing parishes
- proposing, in dialogue with the whole community, a pastoral plan with practical steps and priorities to match members' gifts with these areas of mission.
In doing this, a Parish Pastoral Council is accepting a particular part in the leadership of the parish.
The Pastoral Role of Parish Pastoral Councils
The emphasis in Parish Pastoral Councils needs to be placed on their pastoral nature rather than on business or managerial aspects and has as its prime focus the key areas of worship, proclamation, community and service.
The Parish Pastoral Council discerns and plans as "it listens to the faith community, explores the needs of its local area, prays and reflects, and then sets priorities and goals for parish mission.
The pastoral nature of Parish Pastoral Councils necessarily involves them in a process which moves them towards practical conclusions about the mission to be undertaken. The movement towards this end will take Parish Pastoral Councils through various stages of discovery and identification.