Saint Cecilia has three consultative bodies whose members are parishioners and parish staff. These councils (the Parish Pastoral Council, the Finance Council, and the Development Committee) advise the pastor on a variety of issues in the parish, and help the parish live out its vision.
Parish Pastoral Council
The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) advises the pastor in a variety of areas in the parish. The following is the Statement of Purpose for the PPC:
The Saint Cecilia Parish Pastoral Council is called forth by members of the parish to nurture a faith community that is centered on the mission of the Gospel. It serves as the representative voice to further the building of a welcoming community that lives out the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We read in the Acts of the Apostles of the young Church, of the engagement of the community in pursuing life as followers of Jesus Christ. We read about the seemingly egalitarian embrace of all the members of the community, even in that earlier day with its many proscriptions for human behavior, welcoming and using the gifts of the community—men and women alike.
During the ensuing centuries, that openness and egalitarian inclusiveness got lost.
A very limiting climate and an environment of separation between clergy and laity became the norm for life in the Church. That environment and the structures it spawned have caused the faithful to seriously undervalue their true place in the Church—their privilege and obligation as baptized members of the Body of Christ.
Then, in the 1960s, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Second Vatican Council took place. Vatican II “opened the windows and doors” of the institutional Church and reawakened the spirit of the young, energetic, and more egalitarian Church of the first century.
The Council issued many directives for the ongoing renewal of the Church and looked upon members of the Church with a renewed appreciation. The Council spoke and dioceses around the world responded by requiring each parish to have a Parish Pastoral Council.
Members of the Parish Council are elected by parishioners and meet monthly with the pastor to discuss the life of the parish and how effective the parish is at bringing Christ into the world. No parish exists primarily for itself, but for the good of the whole Church and the parish contributes to the health and well-being of the Church insofar as it is faithful to the Gospel and when it is a source of evangelization both for the lives of its parishioners as well as for those with whom our parishioners interact through the parish’s various outreach ministries.
The Church is not a democracy, nor is the Council, but Parish Council members are privileged to serve and actualize in a very small but significant way what baptism calls us to, and to help restore to the universal Church a more egalitarian atmosphere. As the parish grows in its commitment to the Gospel and in its identity as Church, we are blessed with a wonderfully vibrant faith community that each of us loves and calls our spiritual home.
Parish Finance Council & Development Committee
An active Parish Finance Council is critical to the sound management of a parish. For this reason, every parish is required by the Code of Canon Law to establish a Finance Council—a consultative body of parishioners whose purpose is to assist the pastor and parish staff in planning the annual budget, in overseeing the financial affairs of the parish, and to ensure accountability to the diocese and to parishioners. The Parish Finance Council is accountable to the pastor who has the responsibility for all final decisions.
The Saint Cecilia Parish Finance Council meets quarterly to:
- Review and discuss the budget and management of income and expenditures;
- Review actual results compared to budget;
- Consider and consult on operating and capital requirements.
While the Parish Finance Council does not have decision-making authority, consultation is at the heart of the decision-making process: sharing information, listening, contributing to the discussion, and promoting consensus.
In order to be effective in their responsibilities as members of the Parish Finance Council, members should have a love for the Church and its mission and develop a thorough understanding of the parish’s mission, goals, people, and material resources. The members should have knowledge of archdiocesan statutes and policies regarding temporal issues and other financial matters.
The Development Committee partners with the pastor and the Director of Finance to determine both long-term and short-term development goals that support the yearly operation of the parish as well as larger capital improvement projects. This hands-on team works to deepen existing donor relationships and to establish new ones. They host stewardship initiatives on both a large and small scale, and they encourage the pastor in his efforts to advance donor engagement.