Pastoral Council Commissions & Ministries

Pastoral Council Guidelines
Pastoral Plan

Pastoral Council Five Year Plan Review

Discernment for the Pastoral Council

Behold, New Things Have Come!

Basilica of St. Paul Pastoral Council Guidelines

The Pastoral Council is the primary advisory body to the Pastor regarding the pastoral life of the parish. Its function is to develop and promote an understanding of the parish mission and priorities, and to formulate the plans and policies that carry out that mission. The role of the Pastoral Council involves understanding the mission of the Church and how that mission is being carried out in the parish.  The council develops the pastoral plan for the parish and reviews it annually.

Canon 536  “The Pastoral Council serves in a consultative capacity to the Pastor and staff. The Pastoral Council does not implement policy, nor do they engage in the administration of the parish. Day to day administration of parish matters is vested in the pastor and parish staff.”

The Pastoral Council’s responsibilities include calling all to ministry, pastoral planning, and the strengthening and nourishing of the faith of parish members.

This responsibility includes recognition and developing the unique gifts of parishioners for service within and outside the parish.  Each commission will be responsible for providing a mini-fair once a year displaying their ministries with a goal of recruitment.

The Pastoral Council designs and carries out strategic planning for the Basilica of St. Paul by responding to the needs and gifts of the parish. Long range plans shall be

developed and maintained by the Pastoral Council using a planning cycle to accomplish the following:

-Identifying and reflecting on parish capabilities and needs in light of its mission
-Establishing annual goals and objectives that respond to priority needs
-Coordinating the ongoing development of the parish mission, and
-Monitoring the effectiveness of programs and activities in light of the parish vision and strategic priorities.

Strategic Plan: The Pastoral Council shall develop a Five (5) year plan, which shall consist of the long-range goals for the parish and its ministries. Periodic surveys and listening sessions will be the primary source of information required to formulate this plan. The plan will coincide with the fiscal years of the parish and the most proximate year shall be the source of the annual budget for the next fiscal year. The Pastoral Council shall provide the information to staff and parishioners.

Revisions to Strategic Plans: The Five (5) year plan shall be evaluated and updated annually. The Pastoral Council in collaboration with the staff and Pastor, will make arrangements to survey parishioners to ensure that the updated plan is representative of the desires and wishes of parishioners.

Visioning: Together with the Pastor, the council sets a vision, a direction for parish life. The vision answers the questions: “What do we want to accomplish?” and “What do we want to become?”

Spiritual Formation: The Pastoral Council should model and develop a community of faith and service in harmony with the beliefs and practices of Catholic faith.  The council calls all members of the parish to grow in their understanding of their faith and to experience on-going conversion in their lives.

Community building: The council models and builds a sense of community within the parish as it encourages events to provide meaning and community for parishioners.


The Pastoral Council is called to model the unity of the Body of Christ. The Council should be representative of the diversity of the parish community, yet united in carrying out the mission of the Church.

Qualifications: All practicing members of the parish who are engaged in ministry are eligible to serve on the Pastoral Council. Members of the Pastoral Council represent the entire parish and its mission and do not serve any individual ministry or group. Their personal lives and qualifications should reflect Catholic values and the scriptural understanding of servant leadership.

Selection of Pastoral Council Members: All members of the Pastoral Council are appointed by the Pastor after a process of discernment by members of the six parish ministry commissions. The Pastoral Council of the Basilica of St. Paul will be comprised of two representatives from each of the six commissions representing the ministerial life of the parish. The pastor may appoint three additional at-large members. The representatives shall not be paid staff members of the parish or school. Parish clergy (priests and deacons) will serve as ex officio members of the pastoral council and not have voting rights. Wives of deacons can serve as council members if discerned as commission representatives or appointed by the pastor.

The six commissions are: Administration, Faith Formation and Evangelization, Liturgical Life, Parish Life, Social Service, and Spanish.

Each commission will use a process of discernment to call forth its representatives.  Discernment involves asking if God is calling me to a role on the pastoral council; not asking, do I want to serve on the pastoral council.

Anyone who is a part of a ministry is encouraged to participate in the discernment process for the respective commission.  The discernment process involves a time of personal prayer, reflection of gifts and talents and examination of the needs of the parish. Then, collectively the commission will discern, through prayer and reflection both personally and collectively, two people to serve as representatives of their Commission.

Gifts and attributes of a council member include being a prayerful, faithful Catholic; knowledge of the development and implementation of a five year plan; collaborative style of leadership; visionary; knowledgeable of the parish history; time to share, and an organized person who motivates others.

Term and Succession: The Pastoral Council member will serve a three year term.

In the event of resignation, termination, death or any other inability of a member to serve, the commission shall meet and discern a new member to serve a new term of three years.

Meetings: The Pastoral Council shall meet during the following months: January, March, August, and November. The meetings will be conducted by the Chair or his/her designee. Meetings should integrate faith sharing, prayer and ongoing education as well as the business component. At each meeting, two commissions will give an extended report on their ministries in order that the council has an understanding of the parish. Each commission will be responsible for providing a Ministry Fair once a year highlighting their ministries for the purpose of volunteer recruitment and dissemination of current information regarding the status of each of the ministries.

Executive Leadership:  During the January council meeting, annually, the Pastoral Council will discern a member to serve as the chair of the council and a member to serve as recorder. The chair and recorder will serve a one-year term and can be called forth by the council to serve for up to three consecutive years. The executive team (chair and recorder) will work with the pastor to develop an overall working plan for the year, to create an agenda for each meeting, to identify the issues facing the council, and to appoint, with the pastor, special committees as needed for the work of the council.

The chair of the pastoral council must be the servant of the group as he or she chairs and facilitates the meetings of the council. The chair should be a facilitator of the council promoting inclusion and participation, keeping the meetings on track, being sensitive to conflict and helping to resolve conflicts positively.

The recorder will prepare summaries of the meetings of the council, maintain the membership roster and terms of office, keep up to date the changes in the list of ministries after each meeting, assure the preparation and dissemination of materials for the council meetings and is responsible for all council correspondences.