Did you know that according to a USCCB survey 65% of dioceses and eparchies have mandated the establishment of parish pastoral councils in their diocese or eparchy and another 32% have encouraged parishes to establish them? It is reported that nationally an average of 85% of parishes had in fact established a parish pastoral council.
This statistic is cited in the 2010 book, Best Practices of Catholic Pastoral and Finance Councils by Charles E. Zech, Mary L. Gautier, Robert J. Miller, and Mary E. Bendyna, RSM, published by Our Sunday Visitor Press.
Since the Fourth Synod of the Diocese of Trenton in 1992, pastors have been directed to establish a Parish Pastoral Council unless permission to delay doing so is sought and given by the Bishop. More recently, the Diocesan Pastoral Plan "Led by the Spirit" aimed to have a Pastoral Council in place in every parish of the diocese by November 2010. About 80% of our parishes have established a Parish Pastoral Council. The number fluctuates all the time.
Each time a pastor changes, the Parish Pastoral Council that worked with that pastor ceases. A new pastor is expected to establish a new a Pastoral Council within a year of his arrival. This means somewhere in the Diocese there is always a parish in the process of establishing a new council, and/or selecting new members to serve. The diocesan Department of Pastoral Planning dedicates considerable time to assisting Pastors with this important work, and offering initial and ongoing formation for Council members.
Our neighbors in the Diocese of Metuchen have invited Charles E. Zech, co-author of book mentioned above and professor at Villanova University, to give a presentation entitled "Partners in Ministry: Best Practices Among Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils." The event will be held on September 29, 2012 at the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center in Piscataway from 8:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at a cost of $10 per person. We thank Jeff Korgen, Executive Director for Planning in Metuchen Diocese, for the invitation for about 25 participants from the Diocese of Trenton to register. More information to follow.