Recognizing that sound pastoral decisions are informed and strengthened by the wisdom of the People of God, Father Stephen Sledesky established the parish pastoral council. The documents of the Second Vatican Council have recommended the establishment of such councils. They state that Catholics have a right and a duty to express their opinion on what pertains to the good of the Church. Pastors should willingly consult their people, say the documents, and use their prudent advice. By establishing a parish pastoral council, the pastor acknowledges the wisdom of his parishioners and expresses his desire to share with them his responsibility for the governance of the parish.
The purpose of the parish pastoral council is to investigate pastoral matters, to consider them thoroughly, and to propose practical recommendations about them. The council’s task is, first of all, to study those matters brought to its attention including researching and understanding different points of view regarding the matter. Its second task is to reflect on them thoroughly, to discern their true nature, to evaluate and to ponder them. Its final task is to draw sound recommendations, and present them to the pastor.
This threefold task of the council – investigating, considering, and recommending – is called pastoral planning. If the pastor accepts the recommendations of the council, he directs their implementation. While implementation is the responsibility of the pastor, council members may assist him.
The Pastoral Council Foundation Document and Council Meeting Summaries are available on the Downloads page.
Council members are listed and pictured below.