Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Pastoral Councils -- Part Two

By Tom Kane

In the Code of Canon Law, Canon 536 it states    “§1. If the diocesan bishop judges it opportune after he has heard the presbyteral council, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish, over which the pastor presides and in which the Christian faithful, together with those who share in pastoral care by virtue of their office in the parish, assist in fostering pastoral activity.
            I must admit I do not know what rules the diocesan bishop has established for this council, but I would hope it would be representational of the people and led by their own good conscience and the will of God.  That aside, these chosen individuals are to be representative of the Parish and we have a duty to inform them of the voice and views of the people if we are to be truly represented. 
            The point of this article is twofold; to point out the critical role these individuals will play in the Parish and to pray for their proper deliberation, decisions making and consultation in these position of great responsibility, sponsorship, trust and fidelity in this time of great need and turmoil.  Being a member of the council is a huge undertaking.  These individuals are the representatives of the people and Parish and are to keep the Church and Parish best interests as paramount in their minds.   They have a duty to the Parish and the Body of the Church.  They are “your” voice and I pray God will advise and guide them to righteous and just action.   They are to serve the interest of all and not of one or a select few.         
            Never have the members of this august body had such a critical or pivotal role at such a critical or pivotal time.    Regardless of how they were selected, the future of the Parish rests in their hands.  They are to be part of church history.  Their advice and consultation will impact the future or end of this Parish and St. Vincent de Paul Church.  They are the guardians, conservators and stewards of St. Vincent de Paul Church and Parish; the ones entrusted to safeguard a church where many of us were baptized, confirmed, married, received First Holy Communion and First Penance and even Last Rites and burial.  A place where we entered God’s Church and Sacraments and also departed from it for full communion with Our Father in heaven.   Their roles are critical and cannot be understated, ignored or forgotten.  The Church relies upon their input and guidance and representation is these serious decisions.  It is a critical and necessary part of the process.   They must have our prayers and confidence and trust that God will guide all of their deliberations.  The Vatican expects such decision to be made with the input of the Parish Community.   Recent Vatican decisions reflect this thought process. 

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