Almost every parish, business, agency and entity of any kind in recent years has drawn up a mission statement, and indication of the mission of the entity and the vision for its future. One of the first items on the agenda of our Parish Pastoral Council some years ago was the drawing up of our parish mission statement. This statement is posted in the vestibule of the church, and is printed on the front of our weekly bulletin. It not only describes the mission of the parish, but also introduces challenges which face the parish. Because it is printed on each bulletin, it can easily be overlooked. We suggest that you notice this Mission Statement and see if we are fulfilling it, and, if not, how can we better fulfill it.
I mention this at this time, because this statement was drawn up by our first reorganized Parish Council. When the Eighth Synod of Boston, the gathering of laity, priests and bishop was held in 1989, the members of the Synod decreed that all parishes should introduce a Pastoral Council. As part of its renewal of the Church, the Second Vatican Council called for a number of new structures to promote active involvement and collaboration in the mission of the Church. After the council, a new structure was proposed by the Church to call forth in an orderly fashion the insights and cooperation of persons at the level of the local community. That structure is the Parish Pastoral Council.
The rationale for the Parish Pastoral Council may be found in the Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. It said "By reason of the knowledge, competence or preeminence which they have, the laity are empowered—indeed sometimes obliged—to manifest their opinion on those things which pertain to the good of the Church. If the occasion should arise this should be done through the institutions established by the Church for that purpose and always with truth, courage and prudence and with reverence for charity toward those who, by reason of their office, represent the person of Christ."
The members of our Parish Pastoral Council have been elected for a three year term, with one third of the Council elected each year. This allows for a continuity and a hold over of two thirds of old members to greet the new ones. In becoming a collaborative parish with St. Mary in Hull, the Parish Pastoral Council will be a joint Council with representatives from each parish. The Parish Finance Council will be separate with each parish retaining its own Council.
Fr. John R. Mulvehill