Sacred Heart Church
Parish Pastoral Council Bylaws
ARTICLE I – NAME
Section 1. This organization will be known as the Sacred Heart Parish Pastoral Council.
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE OF COUNCIL
Section 1. The purpose of the Sacred Heart Parish Pastoral Council (Council) is to promote the spiritual growth of the parish community.
ARTICLE III – FUNCTIONS OF COUNCIL
Section 1. Spiritual Formation: The primary concern of the Council is the spiritual growth of the parish community. This will be accomplished by assuring that there are opportunities for spiritual growth and education for all members of the parish.
Section 2. Pastoral Planning: The Council is the pastoral planning body of the parish. The Council will discern the parish’s pastoral plan by listening to parishioners, identifying key needs and concerns, synthesizing and prioritizing parish goals, recommending strategies to achieve those goals, and developing evaluation procedures.
Section 3. Pastoral Policy Development: The Council is a consultative body that develops, reviews, and recommends parish policies with the pastor. On matters of major pastoral concern, the pastor is to consult Council.
Section 4. Communication: The Council will regularly communicate with the parish community by reporting on issues under consideration. The Council will keep the other parishes in the cluster informed of any applicable issues.
ARTICLE IV – REPRESENTATION, MEMBERSHIP, NOMINATIONS, ELECTIONS, AND VACANCIES
Section 1. Council membership shall consist of the pastor and seven selected members of the parish. With each three-year cycle, two members will be selected in year one, then three in year two, and then two members in year three. In addition to the seven selected members, the pastor may appoint one representative from the high school-aged parishioners who has received the Sacrament of Confirmation for a one-year term to assure there is a youth representative on Parish Council.
Section 2. All registered members of the parish who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation and who practice their faith regularly are eligible to serve on the Parish Pastoral Council. No more than one immediate family member from the same household may serve at the same time.
Section 3. After serving a three-year term, a person shall not be eligible to serve on Council for a period of two years.
Section 4. Selection Process
- Qualification: All registered members of the parish who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation may nominate themselves or other qualified candidates for Parish Council.
- Information Session: Information will be provided after Masses on the first two weekends in October. The pastor will provide information on his expectations for Parish Council. The pastor and existing Parish Council members will be present to discuss functions, responsibilities, and helpful gifts and talents. Interested parishioners are encouraged to ask questions. Parishioners may discuss amongst themselves and openly nominate those whom they believe have the desired qualities for Council membership. They are encouraged to also nominate themselves. Potential nominees may decline at this time. Names and contact information for the nominees is collected.
- Publications: Bulletin announcements the last weekend in September and first weekend in October to publicize the nomination process.
- Discernment: Existing Council members together with the pastor review the nominations at the October Parish Council meeting. If an insufficient number of nominees is obtained, Council will discern names of potential nominees to be contacted. All nominees are contacted and, if interested in being considered, are asked to submit responses to a questionnaire, due prior to the November Council meeting, asking why they want to serve, what they see as the strengths of the parish, areas where the parish could grow, and the skills they could bring to the Council ministry. This form will include a check box to ensure the nominee has already received the Sacrament of Confirmation, is able to meet during the scheduled meeting time, and has no immediate family member of the same household already serving on Council.
- Selection: At the November Council meeting, the pastor, deacon, and existing Council members will review the responses from the nominees and then discern, by means of prayer and discussion, which of the nominees might be selected for service on Parish Council. Final selection will be by secret ballot amongst the existing Parish Council members present. In the event of a tie, the seven voting members of Council will cast an additional ballot. If further resolution becomes warranted, the pastor will make the final determination.
- Notification: All nominees will be notified of the results at the earliest opportunity.
Section 5. Any member of Council may resign either by submitting a written or oral resignation to the Chairperson of Council. Three unexcused absences from regular Council meetings will disqualify one from continuing to serve on the Parish Pastoral Council.
Section 6. If a Council member, by his or her conduct, brings discredit upon the Council, the Parish, or the Church, or fails to carry out the responsibilities and obligations of a Council member and this conduct persists, after this concern is noted, the member will be asked to resign. If no resignation is forthcoming within a reasonable time, the member may be removed at a regular or special Council meeting by a decision reached in consensus. Such a proposal to remove a member must be introduced at one meeting and considered at the following meeting, and the member whose removal is proposed will be notified in writing of the proposed action at least one week before the meeting at which the proposal is to be considered. The member will be given the opportunity to be heard at that meeting.
Section 7. If a vacancy arises prior to expiration of a term, within two (2) Council meetings after such vacancy occurs, Council, acting in consensus, shall recommend to the pastor three (3) qualified parishioners (those who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation, are registered in the parish, practice their faith regularly, and are not immediate family members of existing Council members). The pastor, as soon as practical, but within two (2) Council meetings after receiving said recommendations, will select one of these candidates to complete the vacated term.
ARTICLE V – OFFICERS
Section 1. At the December meeting, the members of the Council will choose by consensus a chairperson and a vice-chairperson from the Council’s members. Once chosen, an officer will hold office until the next selection of officers. Any officer may resign from an office without having to resign from the Council. The Council will fill any officer vacancy by majority vote of the members present.
Section 2. The Chairperson will prepare and provide an agenda prior to Council meetings and will chair all Council meetings. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson will chair the Council meetings. A recording secretary, who is not a Council member, shall be retained. The secretary will provide the minutes of the previous month’s meeting prior to the meeting, to allow time for review. Minutes, once approved, will be posted on the church bulletin board and on the parish website.
ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS AND PROCEDURES
Section 1. The regular meeting of Council will normally be held monthly, though it may choose to recess for the summer months. All regular meetings of the Council will be open to all members of the parish. The Council may, if it deems necessary, meet in closed session at any time, or for any portion of any meeting.
Section 2. Special meetings of the Council may be called by the Chairperson, either at the Chairperson’s own initiative, or upon request of three members of the Council or the pastor. Notice of any special meeting must be given personally, by email, or by telephone to each Council member. The notice will state the time, place, and purpose of the meeting. Only matters for which the special meeting has been called may be considered at that meeting.
Section 3. At all meetings of the Council, a majority of the members present will constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Section 4. All members of the parish have the right to submit matters for consideration by the Council. Parishioners may exercise the right by contacting the Council Chairperson.
ARTICLE VII – COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
Section 1. Commissions and committees denote groups that plan and execute programming in their specific areas of concern and oversee their group’s activities.
Section 2. The Council has the authority to create or to abolish commissions and committees.
Section 3. Each commission and committee shall be made up of members of Sacred Heart Parish. The pastor shall serve as an ex-officio member on all commissions/committees. After prayerful consideration and discernment, members of the Council will volunteer to serve as liaisons for parish commissions/committees and will serve during their terms of office, or until the Council may make a change of assignment.
Section 4. With the pastor’s permission, any member of a commission and/or committee may be removed by the Council whenever, in its judgment, the parish would be better served by such removal.
ARTICLE VIII – PARISH ORGANIZATIONS
Section 1. The Council may form new groups as needed to promote parish life. New parish organizations may exist as official organizations of the parish only with the approval of the Council.
ARTICLE IX – AMENDMENTS
Section 1. A committee appointed by the Council and the pastor may amend these bylaws. The committee will meet and write the proposed amendment(s) and present them to Council for approval by consensus.