The Aim of the Parish Pastoral Council:
Pope Paul VI stated that the pastoral council is “to examine and consider all that relates to pastoral work and to offer practical conclusions on these matters, so that the life and activity of the People of God be brought into greater conformity with the Gospel. When we look at this definition, we see that it has three parts. When we look at this definition, we see that it has three parts.
The first part of the definition states that councils examine pastoral matters. The term”pastoral matters” is very broad. In short, it means, whatever pertains to the work of the Parish Priest, including the well being of the community, the needs of the parish and concerns that will need attention in the future. The pastoral council identifies these issues and studies them thoroughly.
The next part of the definition states that the council “considers” the issues it has examined. Its aim is to get a deeper understanding of the concerns. When the council “considers” pastoral matters, it seeks to discern how God is present in the situation. It prays to discover how God invites the parish community to act.
The final part of the definition has to do with practical conclusions. The council has investigated a situation and reviewed it. It now has to make a judgment. It has to recommend to the Parish Priest what the council believes he should do. It has to judge, not what is right for parishes in general, but what is right for this particular parish. The goal is to bring the parish more into conformity with the Gospel.
The three aspects of Pope Paul’s definition express the purposes of the council: to examine, to consider, and to draw conclusions. The role of the parish pastoral council is, through ongoing pastoral planning, to maintain the integrity of the parish mission and the goals and objectives related to it. Within this model, programs and events continue to take place in the parish through the efforts of many dedicated parishioners, always in the context of the parish mission and its pastoral plan.