Parish Pastoral Council
Father Ronald Potts, Chair,
Dave Byers: President, , 301.681.7014
Ceil Malphrus, Vice-President, , 301.233.2703
John Navolio, Secretary,
Frank Pellegrino, Chair, Communication Commission,
Bill Kelly, Chair, Community Life Commission,
Staff: Emma Voelzke,
Pam Kelly & Fran Scango, Co-Chairs, Faith Formation Commission, ;
Staff: Michelle Balch
Patty Myler, Chair, Facilities Commission,
Staff: John Navolio,
Bernice Todaro, Chair, Outreach Commission,
Staff: Pat Kavanaugh,
David Gardiner, Chair, Worship Commission,
Staff: Jay Rader,
The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament is the local presence of the Catholic Church in Chevy Chase, a faith community within the Body of Christ. According to archdiocesan guidelines, “the parish pastoral council is a consultative body for the pastor. Through reflection, prayer, planning, motivation and support, the parish pastoral council serves the pastor by helping identify and encourage those ministries or services that are needed for the growth of a living parish community, evaluated and implemented on a regular basis.” (Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines, p. 5). Typical council duties include:
- Commitment to the Archdiocese of Washington’s focus on the New Evangelization, which “is not one specific action, but rather a way of seeing a whole range of activities carried on by the Church to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ” (Guidelines, p. 1);
- Consultation on forming and carrying out the parish’s pastoral priorities, keeping always in mind the commandments to love God and neighbor. “Through reflection, prayer, planning, setting goals and priorities, [the council] responds to the movement of the Holy Spirit in the life of the parish and to the Bishop’s pastoral vision for the archdiocese.” (Guidelines, p. 5);
- Consultation on the wisdom of establishing annual themes for parish life;
- Consultation on any matter of parish business, either at the pastor’s request or on its own initiative. “[c]ouncil members take leadership in the coordination, motivation, support and evaluation of pastoral activities in the parish.” (Guidelines, p. 5);
- Discussion of and action on regular reports from the commissions (Administration, Communications, Community Life, Faith Formation, Outreach, Worship), whose collective purview includes all parish ministries and services;
- Guidance, encouragement and assistance to these Commissions as occasion warrants. “Concerned with the overall pastoral development of the parish, the pastoral council will often serve as liaison to the various parish groups or coordinate the implementation of specific initiatives at the request of the pastor.” (Guidelines, p. 5).
The members of the Pastoral Council freely accept the call to serve. They understand that their baptismal call, which they share with every Christian, is to live out the Gospel. They accept the challenge to nourish this same spirit within the parish community.
The membership of the Pastoral Council is determined by the pastor, and may vary from year to year. The commission chairs and representatives of the Finance Council, Blessed Sacrament School, Sanctuary Sodality, and Faith in the Marketplace are ex officio members of the council. The pastor appoints the remaining members from among parishioners who volunteer to serve.
The principal criteria for selecting council members are general competence for leadership, a love of parish and the wider Church, commitment to the New Evangelization, and an enthusiastic interest in promoting and implementing parish worship and service.
Before the first meeting of the year, the parish provides orientation for officers and members in their roles on the council.
Ideally, the council will be generally representative of the parish as regards gender, age, and ethnicity.
Members serve a term of two years, renewable once.
The pastor will fill the vacancy should a member of the council miss two meetings without excuse.
The pastor is chair of the Pastoral Council. The council chair will:
- Attend all council meetings, unless pastoral duties require otherwise;
- Exercise authority over council deliberations and actions as he deems necessary;
- Receive and consider all council recommendations; and
- Once recommendations are approved, give direction to the council, the commissions, and parish staff regarding their implementation.
The president of the Pastoral Council is a well-qualified layperson appointed by the pastor. The president will:
- Steadily articulate and maintain the mission of the Pastoral Council;
- Decide the agenda for all council meetings, in consultation with the pastor;
- Convene and lead all council meetings;
- Ensure that members submit scheduled reports to the council in a competent and timely fashion; and
- Report directly to the pastor.
The vice-president of the Pastoral Council is a well-qualified layperson appointed by the pastor. The vice-president will:
- Convene and lead all council meetings in the absence of the chair;
- Monitor the implementation of council decisions; and
- Assist the chair as requested.
Council members will:
- Prepare conscientiously for and attend all meetings, except in case of excused absence;
- Study carefully any documentation prepared for council discussions;
- Contribute to council discussions;
- Represent the viewpoint of their own constituency while working for the common good of the parish; and
- If commission chairs, give reports at each meeting on the condition of their commission and of the ministries it serves, with special emphasis on any challenges the commission or ministries may be facing.
The pastor will assign a member of the parish staff as secretary to the council. The council secretary will:
- Take notes at all council meetings and prepare minutes to be presented for acceptance at the meeting next following. Minutes at minimum will record all substantive discussion and decisions;
- Transmit documentation for each meeting to the members at least five days in advance. Such documentation will include an agenda, minutes of the previous council meeting, and any correspondence on which action is required;
- Assist the vice-president in monitoring the implementation of council decisions by parish staff;
- Serve as liaison between the council and the parish staff;
- Coordinate and communicate meeting logistics, including room set-up;
- At the direction of the president, prepare and transmit council reports for publication in the bulletin and posting on the parish website;
- Assist the president as necessary between meetings; and
- Report directly to the president as regards council business.
The president may ask the pastor to instruct other staff members to attend particular council meetings to provide expert advice.
Pastoral Council meetings begin and end with prayer.
Since the Pastoral Council is a consultative body, all its decisions are subject to the pastor’s approval. Once such approval is given, members, volunteers and staff will collaborate to implement council decisions in a timely fashion.
The Pastoral Council meets monthly for 90 minutes immediately after the commissions meet. The council schedules all its meetings for a given year at the first meeting of that year.
The Pastoral Council operates by consensus whenever possible, though the pastor or president may call for a vote on particular questions.
Each council meeting consists of four parts: (1) reports from the commission chairs and other ex officio members; (2) discussion of these reports and proposals for action to be taken, either at that meeting or a future one; (3) discussion of and decisions on agenda items; and, (4) discussion of additional business proposed by the pastor or by any member, either for immediate action or for action at a future meeting.
The council will initiate and guide an annual planning cycle to recruit, select, train and replace its officers and members, and those of the commissions.
At a council meeting, quorum is defined as a majority of council members, without regard to constituency.