About the Pastoral Council of Ministries
We come from different backgrounds. We are all different ages. Some have young children, some have grown children, some don’t have any. We have much in common though. We are all actively involved with St. Peter the Apostle parish, we care about it and have a dream of making its mission statement ever more a reality. We are the Pastoral Council.
Gone are the days of heads of the various ministries attending a meeting and merely reporting their accomplishments to the pastor. This prior reporting structure left the members of the parish council feeling that it did not make much of a difference if they attended the meetings or not. They could always read the reports later. Attendance and interest diminished.
So, a different and more productive format was established. There currently are 12 council members, selected from the various ministries to serve three year terms that are staggered so only a portion have to be replaced every year. These council members are leaders experienced with the many vibrant ministries that St. Peter’s is comprised of. They are also people with a vision of making the parish better, more responsive to needs, of making it more effectively live out our parish mission statement.
Because the current structure allows for a collaborative meeting, subjects of concern about the parish are brought up either by the pastor or by the council after studying and evaluating pastoral situations. Members are expected to share their wisdom and their informed opinions. The council also sets annual goals for itself as a leadership and planning body.
One of the first goals the council accomplished was the mission statement. More recently, knowing how vital good communication is to the working of a parish, the council spurred the revamping of the website. It also set into motion our now annual blood drive.
Because the council consists of people with parish leadership experience, the pastor often asks the opinion of the council on topics as they arise. As an example, it was after consultation with the council and with the pastoral staff, that the pastor at that time, Msgr. Robert H. Slipe, decided how to respond to the sex abuse crisis.
Council members share their own feelings and views and, as leaders actively involved with the parish community, their sense of the way people in the broader community think or feel about certain needs or topics. Monsignor listens intently to the direction the council members think should be taken, many times concurring with our advice, but sometimes not. In either case, he has consulted with the council as his principal group of parish advisors. As the pastor of St. Peter’s, both canonically and pragmatically, the ultimate decision and responsibility are his. At every meeting, there is also an open discussion section in which council members can bring to the table various issues to be discussed.
This format is still relatively new, and changes to it are made as necessary. One concern with not having every single ministry be represented by the council was that their needs might not get addressed by the parish. To ensure that this does not happen, the council separated the different ministries into “clusters” — word, worship, community building, and service and provided liaisons from the council to each one. The pastoral council liaisons communicate with the ministry leaders of their cluster. The council has also dedicated two of their meetings a year to the clusters, in which the ministry leaders are invited to meet with the council, share news of their activities, network with one another, and describe any needs they may have.
The council members are happy with the new format. It is very fulfilling to have a part in the direction of the parish. It’s great to see new ideas be discussed, and try to bring them to fruition to enhance the lives of those that are part of our parish.
Ultimately, the council’s purpose is to ensure that the life of the Parish reflects the mission of Jesus and that all parishioners are provided with the opportunity to share in that mission. Parishioners are invited and encouraged to contact members of the Pastoral Council with your ideas and concerns about St. Peter the Apostle Parish. Members will bring your comments to the Pastoral Council meetings for discussion.