Many diocesan bishops have been encouraging parishes to establish Pastoral Councils within their communities. Unlike the familiar Parish Councils with elections and committees, Pastoral Councils are bodies devoted to prayer, the study of church documents and other sound resources, as well as parish-centered reflection based on that study. It is the hope of our bishops that this model will better equip the laity – spiritually, theologically, and pastorally – to collaborate with their pastors, clergy and staff in the work of ministry. What is unique about this model is that its emphasis is on prayer and study. It invites us to better ground ourselves both spiritually and theologically, to educate ourselves about what we are doing and why we are doing it. It asks that we see ministry not as a series of projects and programs but instead, as a work evolving from the graced development of parish life and mission.
The Pastoral Council serves as a consultative body to the pastor and the parish staff in identifying and addressing areas of ministerial needs in the parish.
Pastoral Council Contact Persons – John Bryson, Carla Alves & Rich Wietecha
Pastoral Council News May 2015
The Pastoral Council has resumed their service year in September by welcoming new members Sean O’Brien, Stacey Alvey, and Judy Spadone. Together with returning members Carla Alves, John Bryson, Mai Corvi, Lin Gothier, Lisa Holley, and Rich Wietecha, the council continues pastoral planning through prayerful collaboration with parish councils and commissions.
The Council continues this year with New Evangelization as their top priority. With this purpose in mind, we are planning the following initiatives this year to create and foster a culture of Evangelization in our parish:
- Called & Gifted program (Spring timeframe, final dates pending): This program aids Catholics in discerning the presence of charisms in their life. Charisms, or spiritual gifts, are special abilities given to all Christians by the Holy Spirit to give them the power both to represent Christ and to be a channel of God’s goodness to people.
- Discovering Christ program (Fall timeframe): This parish-wide program brings attendees to a deeper understanding and conversion of faith and teaches how to be an “Intentional Disciple of Christ”
In addition, the Pastoral Council, in conjunction with the Stewardship Council and the Evangelization Commission, held our annual Parish Leadership Day on April 18. The day provided an opportunity for all St. Bernard of Clairvaux councils and commissions to pray and reflect together as a community. In addition, council and ministry members discussed ideas on how to best evangelize, and foster the spirituality and prayer life within the Parish and community at large.
Pastoral Council Update (February 2014)
For the past two years, the Pastoral Council of St. Bernard of Clairvaux parish has been studying the New Evangelization. New Evangelization has been described as the ongoing endeavor to grow in our faith and conversion to Jesus Christ, to make known the good news of Christ to others and to work with all people of good will to transform society with the values of Christ.
The Council’s work has centered on how our parish might benefit from becoming a more evangelizing parish with programs for both active and inactive Catholics. The focus of this year’s Council is on how to incorporate the findings of the past two years into an action plan for the parish. Being considered for implementation include ways to advocate prayer within our parish and to enhance spiritual development within the parish ministries, its leadership and the parish family at large. It is the Council’s desire that programs initiated will also be successful in reaching inactive parishioners and others not yet familiar with all our parish has to offer. The council will be working with all councils and commissions in the parish to develop, communicate and implement the Council’s recommendations.
In September, the Pastoral Council welcomed three new members – Mai Corvi, Lin Gothier and Rich Wietecha. They, together with returning members Carla Alves, John Bryson, Kathy Capaccione, Lisa Holley, Sr. Margaret Muller, Tim O’Connor and Mary Ann Stevens bring the number of Pastoral Council members to a total of ten. Co-conveners for this year are Mary Ann Stevens and John Bryson.
Pictured are the current members of the St. Bernard Pastoral Council