St Patrick's Parish Monkstown

Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines


1        Establishment

          The Parish Pastoral Council of St Patrick's Parish, Monkstown, ("the Council") was commissioned at a commitment service which took place during Mass at St Patrick's Church on Sunday the 13th of March, 2011. It is intended to provide a structure for the co-responsible leadership of priests and parishioners in the total mission of St Patrick's Parish ("the Parish").

These guidelines (the" Guidelines") were adopted by approval of the Council at a meeting held on the 13th June, 2011 for the purpose of governing aspects of its objectives, membership and proceedings as set out in the following paragraphs.

2       Mission

The Council affords willing parishioners an opportunity to respond to their Baptismal call in acting as part of a consultative body to assist in building a community of faith able to make the church present and functioning in the Parish. It seeks to call forth, enable and empower the gifts given to individuals within the Parish for the good of all, to enhance the quality of parish life and parish activity and to facilitate growth of a parish community united in faith and giving witness to gospel values. It also seeks to give the Parish Priest, as pastoral leader, access to the best counsel that can be provided within the Parish on issues affecting its life and mission. The Mission Statement of the Parish is:

"Guided by the Holy Spirit, our mission is to enable parishioners to share their gifts, celebrate our community, welcome and support each other through participation in the life of the Parish."

3       Eligibility for Membership

Members shall be Catholics over the age of eighteen years who participate in the life and worship of the Parish and are available to attend a minimum of half the meetings in the space of one year.

4       Number of Members and Selection Process

The number of members shall be between ten and fifteen. The first members were appointed on the nomination of a representative group of volunteer parishioners in co-operation with the Parish Priest and following a process of discernment.

During the month of March in each year commencing in March 2014 one third of the members shall retire by rotation. Those members who are to retire shall be selected on a first in first out basis save in the case of the retirements occurring in March 2014 and March 2015 in which cases those retiring by rotation will be selected by consultation or, if a majority of members so request, by ballot.

Members retiring by rotation shall be entitled to be reappointed provided that no member shall serve for more than six years in aggregate save by unanimous request of the Parish Priest and all members of the Council.

The  selection of members to replace those retiring by rotation shall be by a process of discernment the nature of which shall be determined by the Council in conjunction with the Parish Priest to the primary intent of achieving as broad a representation of the Parish as is possible and in a spirit of Christian consensus.

The Council shall co-opt to membership one person who is a member of the Parish Finance Committee and who shall provide liaison between the Council and that Committee.

The Council shall if it deems it necessary or desirable co-opt a person to membership to fill any casual vacancy.

5       Responsibilities of Members

         The Council shall require of the members that they use their best efforts to:

    Attend the meetings of the Council
  Participate in the deliberations of the Council

    Represent the entire community of parishioners and avoid        promoting or preferring any personal or sectional interests
Assist where possible with the implementation of Parish policies
Grow in knowledge and awareness of what is happening in the          Parish
Assist in the training and induction of new Council members and                 avail of on-going formation

6        Confidentiality

          Acknowledging the potential sensitivity of matters arising for discussion at Council meetings and information coming into their possession arising from their membership, members shall be expected to exercise the utmost discretion and abide by strict confidentiality in relation to information of a sensitive or potentially sensitive nature.


7       Meetings

Ordinary meetings shall take place once in each month save in the months of July and August. Meetings shall take place at such times and locations as shall be decided by the Council and notice and agendas for them shall be sent to members in reasonable time. Special meetings to deal with issues of urgency may be called by the Chairman or the Parish Priest upon giving such notice as is possible in the circumstances.

The quorum for an ordinary meeting shall be five members and for a special meeting such number not less than two who are available for the meeting and in attendance. The Chairman may invite persons other than members to attend a meeting for some or all of the business if in his opinion such attendance is likely to be of benefit to the Council.

Minutes of all meetings shall be prepared by the Secretary within fourteen days and circulated to members.

Save by arrangement with the Secretary all notices, minutes of meetings and other communications shall be sent to members via email and each member who has one shall supply his or her current email address to the Secretary. Copies of notices of meetings, agendas and minutes shall also be sent to the Secretary of the Parish Finance Committee for the attention of the Chairperson of that Committee.

The preference  shall be for matters before the Council for determination to be decided by consensus rather than voting. In the event that an issue is not capable of resolution by consensus the Chairman shall put it to the vote and it shall be determined by a simple majority with the Chairman having an additional or casting vote in the event of equal votes for and against. In keeping with the consultative nature of the Council the members in adopting these Guidelines acknowledge that the collaboration between the Parish Priest and the Council is integral to each stage of the parish decision-making process. In virtue of his office, the Parish Priest presides over and ratifies all stages of the process leading up to and including final choices and implementations. This collegial process respects the authority of the Parish Priest who in turn takes into account the integrity, expertise and prayerful deliberations of the members of the Council.

Members undertake that in the event of a conflict of opinion those on either side of the conflict shall engage with each other constructively and respectfully and each shall endeavour to understand the other's point of view such engagement being conducive to good relationship even where conflicting views prove impossible to resolve.

Time shall be set aside at the commencement and end of each meeting for prayer led by a member who has expressed willingness.


8       President

The Parish Priest shall be the President of the Council. If at any time because of indisposition or other reason he is unable to discharge the functions of President he may nominate another person to exercise those functions.

9       Chairperson

There shall be a Chairperson who is elected by the members of the Council for a determined period of time with an option for renewal. The role of the Chairperson is to prepare the agenda with the President and the Secretary and to facilitate the meetings of the Council.

10     Secretary

The Secretary is responsible for keeping a record of the meetings of the Council and for circulating relevant material to the Council members. The Secretary may be elected for a renewable term of office.

11      Diocesan Contact Person

          The Diocesan Contact Person liaises between the Parish and the diocese through the appropriate diocesan office and is elected for a renewable term of service. The name of the contact person is communicated to the appropriate diocesan office.

12     Amendment etc. of Guidelines

         These Guidelines may be amended, supplemented or replaced by approval of the Council subject to any applicable diocesan or canon law regulation. They will be reviewed every three years and following the completion of each review they will be submitted to the Diocesan Pastoral Office.