Parish Councils

Let God decide

I’m not sure exactly when I began dreading parish-council meetings, those monthly assemblies of parish staff, elected parishioners, and sundry officeholders. It might have been the forty-seventh time the Knight of Columbus made us clench our politically correct teeth by outlining his grand plan to sell Tootsie Rolls “for the retarded.” It could’ve been the meeting at which the pastor showed us a picture of a frightening statue of St. Lucy that a family wanted to donate to the church. He made us vote on it; and when we voted no, he promptly turned purple, told us the statue had already been purchased, informed us further what an ungrateful bunch we were, and stormed out of the room. Was it then that I began secretly to yearn for such parish councils to perish? Or was it when I realized I could recite verbatim the monthly report from the school parents, because it hadn’t changed all year? Or perhaps the meeting when we actually had to vote on the color of wall paint?

I know I’m not alone. Over the years, when I’ve asked friends and colleagues about their parish councils and how they work, most have reported variations on the same dreary theme. First order of business: a round of “reports” by each ministry or organization leader. Next up: new business from the pastor, followed by concerns/suggestions/observations by the rest of us. If anything should come to a vote, it is accompanied by the polite reminder that the council functions solely as an advisory body to the...

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About the Author

Fr. Nonomen (a pseudonym) is the pastor of a suburban parish. He has been a priest for more than twenty years.