Monday, June 20, 2011

On Pastoral Councils -- Part One

Tom Kane sent along an article he wrote concerning the duties of pastoral councils. It has some great information regarding Canon Law. Here is Part One. Parts Two and Three to follow:

Prayers, Support, and Understanding of Parish Council

            Every time I come home, I am reminded that I am unfortunately no longer a member of this beautiful Parish at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Corning, NY, as I once was.  I still own my mother’s house and have an interest in the area and my family is for the most part still here.  I visit my mother and my father and my son at St. Mary’s Cemetery.  (Most recently of course on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.)    It was this Parish that ignited my religious fervor and love of my God, his Mother and his Church.  I know by Church law my family records are still maintained at St. Vincent de Paul Church, but I now belong to another Parish.  I miss my former Parish dearly, but understand I am now just a visitor, but that was never a real issue, since in the past visitors were always welcome at St. Vincent’s, as was anyone and everyone.  It was the nature of St. Vincent de Paul Parish and we all knew how blessed we were to be part of it and how envious other churches were of our little community. You are so lucky and blessed.
            St. Vincent’s of course is entering the most trying time in its existence.  We thought floods, death, the loss of cherished priests and religious and even Vatican II were more trying, but now we realize, St. Vincent’s very survival is the true test of a Parish Community and Church.  Everyone’s voice, opinion, participation and attendance make a difference.  Do not leave your Parish and Church, which was always your Rock during its time of need.  Be a part and make your voice heard.  How can you not?  This Church and Community are too valuable to lose.
            I learned upon my visit home that a new committee or Parish Council is being formed and I wish to extend my prayers, support and understanding to them and ask that they be divinely inspired and nourished.    New members’ names have been provided to serve the needs of the Parish.  There are some questions as to how the individuals were selected and how the determination was made, but I hope they will satisfied the tenants of their faith and serve as the conscience of the Parish.  As an outsider and someone from the past, this was not how selections or councils were created in the past, but perhaps this is a new process.  I have always found having the input of the Parish and community is a good thing and that the opinions and view points of the entire Parish is a good thing.  The Parish Council is to be representative of the people.  Its members should be active, familiar and concerned with the Parish and the Parish business.  In the past, the clergy and staff would often solicit interest from the Parish of those wishing to be nominated for the Parish Council.  The Parish would then elect their representatives and a set number would serve as the Parish Council.  The Council would rotate and different folks would serve at different times.  My parents both served in this role in the past and were lucky enough to be elected by the people and able to serve as God had called them. 

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