Parish Council & Finance Council By-Laws
PARISH COUNCIL AND PARISH FINANCE COUNCIL
Mt. Pleasant, IA
ARTICLE I – PARISH STRUCTURES AND RELATIONSHIPS
Three distinct entities exist in the parish; Parish Corporate Board, Parish Finance Council and Parish Council.
The same person may hold positions on more than one of the above. In fact, interlocking membership is encouraged to ensure communication and planning for the parish community. Whenever the parish community plans, all of these groups should participate.
ARTICLE II – CORPORATE BOARD
Section 1. The State of Iowa requires each parish to have a Corporate Board.
a) The corporate board of St Alphonsus consists of the diocesan bishop, the vicar general, the pastor and two lay directors appointed by two of the following persons: the diocesan bishop, pastor and vicar general. The corporation is formed under civil law and is responsible for the legal requirements and diocesan requirements of the parish corporation.
b) A lay director is appointed for a two-year term. This appointment may be renewed up to three times for up to a total of eight consecutive years of service.
c) St Alphonsus parish has a formal approval of its board of directors for the entering of contracts, borrowing of money, purchase or sale of property, encumbrance of property by lease or mortgage, or the expenditure of parish funds in excess of $5,000 (cc. 1290, 1291 and Synod V #32)
d) St Alphonsus parish makes arrangements for the regular maintenance and operation of the parish for those times when the pastor is absent or the parish is vacant. This shall generally be the task of the lay directors. (Synod V, #31)
ARTICLE III – PARISH FINANCE COUNCIL
Section 1. Canon 537 of the revised Code of Canon Law states, "Each parish is to have a finance council which is regulated by universal law as well as by norms issued by the diocesan bishop; in this council the Christian faithful, selected according to the same norms, aid the pastor in the administration of parish goods with due regard for the prescription of Canon 532.” (cc. 532)
a) The finance council is advisory to the pastor since he retains the right and duty of parish administration (cc. 532). The finance council works closely with the pastor, the corporate board, the parish council and leaders from all areas of ministry.
b) The purpose of the finance council is to design financial plans for the parish that are consistent with the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the parish and to advise the pastor in the administration and accountability of parish finances, budget, parish facilities and long-range financial development.
Section 2. Duties of the Parish Finance Council
a) The parish finance council prepares the budget in consultation with the parish council. They approve the annual budget and review the Summary of Financial Data before submission to the Diocesan Finance Office. The finance council should provide assistance in the formulation and presentation of the annual parish financial reports to the parish community as required by Canon 1287.
b) When a pastor leaves a parish, all formal activity of the finance council ceases until the new pastor or assigned administrator reconvenes the council.
c) Each member of the Council must understand the functions of this council, its interrelationships with other parish organizations, and its responsibility to the Church as a whole.
Section 3. Procedures
a) Monthly review the balance sheet and income statement. In addition, one person from the finance council should review detailed income and expenditures.
b) Provide parishioners with annual reports on the parish financial position.
c) Study parish revenue and make projections regarding the revenues necessary to meet parish objectives and priorities.
d) Advise how to address identified weaknesses and to insure openness of the parish finances to members of the parish and to diocesan officials.
e) Coordinate fundraising efforts (in consultation with stewardship leaders).
f) Propose cost-cutting measures to the pastor and parish council when necessary.
g) Work closely with the other parish organizations to plan for the long range financial and physical needs of the parish.
h) Participate in the development of parish goals and objectives with the pastor and parish council.
i) Advise the pastor regarding the quarterly inspection of all parish facilities.
j) In collaboration with the buildings and grounds committee, develop an inventory of the needs of all parish properties.
k) Recommend additions or repairs based on priorities established by these inspections and input from all areas of ministry.
l) Develop guidelines concerning use of parish facilities.
m) Develop energy conservation programs in conjunction with diocesan energy programs.
n) Identify parishioners for maintenance tasks consistent with Diocesan liability and insurance requirements.
o) Review the parish’s risk management and loss prevention reports from insurance carriers and fire departments. Perform local inspections to insure corrective action is taken to insure the safety and security of the parish property and consistency with codes and standards.
Section 4. Membership
a) Membership on the finance council shall be limited to members of St Alphonsus. They should be chosen based on expertise in accounting, finance, investment, fundraising, budgeting, business law and pastoral leadership. Legal and financial counsel from outside the finance council can be sought when necessary.
b) Members shall be appointed by the pastor for a 4-year term and may be reappointed once.
c) Including the pastor, membership shall consist of at least three, but not more than seven members of the Christian faithful, truly skilled in financial affairs as well as in civil law, of outstanding integrity and freely appointed by the pastor. Any person who may have a conflict of interest may not be appointed to the parish finance council. Members of the finance council are encouraged to serve on other committees of the parish as long as, in the judgment of the pastor, such dual service will not create conflict of interest. (Synod V, #26).
d) At least one lay director shall be appointed to the finance council.
Section 5. Terms. Terms of membership should not exceed two full consecutive terms. Members may be reappointed after a 2-year hiatus.
Section 6. Meetings. The finance council shall meet monthly. When the pastor is unable to attend the meeting, the finance council can discuss matters, but may not make final decisions.
ARTICLE IV PARISH COUNCIL
Section 1. St. Alphonsus Parish shall have a parish council, the organization of which shall be in accordance with the norms established by the diocesan bishop. The parish council is selected or elected to advise the pastor in fostering the pastoral work of the Church as it is carried out in the parish in all its aspects.
Section 2. St. Alphonsus Parish Council will address six ministry areas which include:
a) Church Life
b) Faith Formation
c) Family Life
d) Finance and Administration
f) Social Action
Section 3. These areas overlap. Concerns such as vocations, stewardship, evangelization, communication, budgeting, strategic planning and issues relating to buildings and grounds do not fit neatly in one ministry area. These six ministry areas exist at the parish, deanery and diocesan levels. Some of the structures at these levels are established by universal law, or by particular law promulgated by the Bishop, the Pastor of our local Diocesan Church. The principle of subsidiarity requires that decisions be made at the most appropriate level. For example, a parish consideration of a building project requires adherence to Diocesan Building Commission and Diocesan Liturgical Commission procedures and should involve input from the deanery council.
Section 4. Recommendations for Each Ministry:
a) Church Life
1) Welcome all into the faith community with warm hospitality.
2) Reach out to and welcome the unchurched and those alienated from the Church.
3) Develop, plan and evaluate parish programs that will enable the entire parish to grow into a true spiritual home for its parishioners.
4) Analyze the communal needs of the parish community and to identify areas in need of development.
5) Incorporate (to embody) and then to celebrate the diversity of peoples in the communal life of the parish (e.g., ethnic groups, age groups, the homebound, people with disabilities)
6) Create opportunities to expand all ministries to more freely involve the diversity of the parish, reaching out in a particular way to any marginalized groups.
7) Initiate and support the growth of mutual understanding and common action among different faiths.
8) Prepare a budget for the community-building needs of the parish.
9) Encourage ever-increasing levels of participation in the life of the parish, deanery and diocese.
10) Promote an active commitment to Christian stewardship.
11) Promote and provide opportunities for developing an awareness of one’s vocation.
b) Faith Formation
1) Analyze the needs of the parish community and to identify areas in need of development in this ministry area.
2) Set goals and objectives for the development of a strategic plan congruent with total parish planning.
3) Develop, plan and evaluate parish programs, staff and administrators that will enable the entire parish to grow in its faith life.
4) Develop, formulate and promulgate appropriate policies.
5) Incorporate the diversity of peoples into the faith life of the parish (e.g. ethnic groups, age groups, the homebound, people with disabilities, the marginalized)
6) Ensure adult education as the axis of faith formation.
7) Ensure good communications between and among all groups in the parish, deanery and diocese and provide effective publicity for events.
8) Prepare a budget for total Catholic formation and education to meet the needs of the parish in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and Administration.
9) Encourage ever increasing level of participation in the life of the parish, deanery and diocese.
10) Recommend appropriate changes to the educational space and grounds in order to facilitate the safety, upkeep, and enhance the learning environment.
11) Provide the safe environment program and background checks for all employees and volunteers. (According to Diocesan policies and curriculum.)
12) Actively educate and encourage all youth and adults about vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life or lay ecclesial ministry.
c) Family Life
1) Raise awareness of a family perspective and evaluate the needs within the faith community.
2) Educate and enrich individuals and families through programs, workshops, retreats, newsletters, resource centers, etc.
3) Advocate for "family-friendly" programs, policies, and services in parish planning.
4) Create opportunities to respond to all stages in the family life cycle.
5) Communicate with other groups, agencies, and institutions in the community that work with families.
6) Prepare a budget for family life activities and programs within the parish.
7) Encourage participation in deanery/diocesan family life programs.
8) Research the trends in society that impact families.
9) Affirm and support the diversity in family structures and cultures.
10) Provide and encourage leadership training in family ministry.
11) Promote and provide opportunities for developing an awareness of one’s vocation.
d) Finance and Administration
1) Assure the necessary material resources – land, buildings, finances – that will enable the parish to carry on the work of Christ.
2) Prepare the budget for the financial and administrative needs of the parish.
3) Establish that the parish is spending money in keeping with the priorities developed by the parish.
4) Increase the commitment of the parishioners to support financially the work of the parish.
5) Prepare and approve an annual operating budget after having consulted with the parish council and board of education.
6) Submit an annual financial report to the parish and the bishop at the end of the fiscal year.
7) Establish long range financial planning.
8) Be consulted when there is alienation (transfer) of property or major expenditures of parish funds in excess of $5,000 (Cc. 1290, 1291)
9) Assist in reminding parishioners of their duty to return to God, as an expression of gratitude, part of the material benefits with which they have been blessed.
10) Maintain a safe environment for the parish community.
11) Be familiar with Diocesan policies regarding buildings and grounds and the openings or closings of parishes and schools.
12) Share all concerns and reports on the condition of buildings and grounds with the Diocesan offices.
13) Responsible for human resource issues such as evaluations, employee work agreements, and salary recommendations.
14) Maintain the parish calendar and directory.
15) Ensure good communications among all groups in the parish, deanery, and diocese, and to provide effective public relations.
1) Foster the “full, conscious, and active participation” of all in the liturgical life of the parish. In particular, to be attentive to incorporating the diversity of peoples found in the parish in the parish’s liturgies and liturgical ministries (e.g., ethnic groups, age groups, the homebound, people with disabilities, the marginalized, etc.).
2) Analyze the liturgical needs and evaluate the liturgical life of the parish in order to identify areas in need of development. In particular, to help ensure that the full spectrum of the Church’s liturgies are being celebrated in the parish (e.g., the sacraments, the RCIA in its entirety, the Liturgy of the Hours) in accord with Diocesan, national and universal norms.
3) Develop, plan and evaluate liturgical and spiritual development/formation programs that will enable the entire parish to grow into a deeper relationship with Christ and to learn more about the liturgical life of the Church. To keep the parish informed concerning liturgical norms and practice, in cooperation with the Diocesan Office of Liturgy.
4) Recruit and appropriately train lay liturgical ministers, in keeping with universal, national, and diocesan norms. To provide ongoing oversight, formation, and feedback to these ministers. For example: musicians and cantors, readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, altar servers, greeters and ushers, sacristans, ministers of art and environment.
5) Furnish, decorate, maintain, and recommend appropriate changes to the liturgical environment in order to better support the liturgical life of the parish—and in so doing to follow the diocesan policies regulating consultation with the Diocesan Liturgical and Building Commissions.
6) Assist with and coordinate the liturgies celebrated by sub-groups within the parish.
7) Prepare a budget reflecting the liturgical needs of the parish.
8) Foster and encourage participation by members of the parish in deanery-wide and diocesan celebrations, including (but not limited to): the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, the Chrism Mass and Ordinations.
9) Offer the gifts and talents of liturgical ministers from the parish to the deanery and Diocese.
f) Social Action
1) Reach out in charity to the poor, the homeless and the hungry.
2) Offer care to those who are homebound, hospitalized or in nursing homes.
3) Promote a respect for all human life through various pro-life activities.
4) Address the causes of poverty and injustice by supporting the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
5) Minister to those in jails and prisons, and to their families.
6) Develop an understanding and appreciation for the global Church by promoting Catholic Relief Services and their Lenten program, Operation Rice Bowl.
7) Provide support for immigrants and refugees and create opportunities for the parish to celebrate cultural diversity and welcome the stranger.
8) Participate in projects that promote global solidarity, such as the Diocesan partnership with Madagascar or parish “twinning” programs.
9) Organize parish educational programs that explain Catholic social teaching.
10) Participate in the Diocesan legislative network that promotes issues of pro-life, social justice, rural life and world peace.
11) Send parish leaders to the annual statewide Iowa Institute for Social Action.
12) Prepare a budget for social action programs within the parish.
Section 5. Goals and Objectives of the Parish Council.
The parish council is responsible for strategic and adaptive planning, which involves identifying the vision and mission of the parish, conducting assessments and parish profiles, setting goals and objectives; and conducting annual reviews of the goals and objectives in light of its mission.
a) Committees and sub-committees are assigned to the appropriate area of ministry they best represent.
b) Each area of ministry will work with the parish council to establish their goals and objectives. Once goals are approved, any change in the goals, objectives or budget needs to be approved by the parish council.
c) Consultation from each committee chairperson or member(s) representing the area of ministry is encouraged. The parish council shall also consult with the finance council when approving goals and objectives where appropriate.
d) Chairpersons of each of the six areas of ministry at a minimum of annually, review their goals and objectives noting any anomalies. A report of the findings from the review and a budget which details the objectives for the upcoming year is prepared for the parish council. Plans and budgets by the subcommittees are due to be submitted to the Parish Council before the end of February each year.
e) The Parish Council in turn reviews and prepares a budget proposal for each area of ministry and submits it to the finance committee by the end of April each year. Any extraordinary expense not included in the budget ($1000.00 or more) needs to go to both the parish council and finance council for approval.
Section 6. All councils in the church according to Canon Law (536) are consultative in nature to the Pastor and the Bishop.
ARTICLE V – COMMITTEE
Section 1. St. Alphonsus Parish addresses six areas of ministry as it lives out the fullness of its faith. These ministry areas include: church life, faith formation, family life, finance and administration, liturgy, and social action. In order to live out the fullness of its faith, a committee is established for each area of ministry.
a) All parishioners are encouraged to participate as a committee member.
b) All committee meetings are open to all members of the parish.
c) Notice of such meetings shall be published in advance.
d) Each committee elects a chairperson. The chairperson of each committee is responsible for carrying out their goals, objectives and keeping to their budget.
e) Each committee defines and sets its goals and objectives using the recommendations for the six areas of ministry listed above in Article IV. .
f) Each committee works with the parish council to establish their goals and objectives. Goals and objectives should detail short and long-term plans which include a budget proposal.
g) Once goals are approved by the parish council, any change in the goals, objectives or budget needs to be submitted to the parish council for approval.
h) The need for sub-committee(s) of each area of ministry may be identified when setting goals and objectives.
i) Each sub-committee is under the direction of their assigned committee. Sub-committees should be appropriately assigned according to the areas of ministry listed in Article IV.
j) Committees assigned to oversee subcommittee(s) are responsible for monitoring the goals, objectives and budget of the subcommittee assigned to them.
k) At each parish council meeting the committee chairperson provides a summary of their committee and subcommittee’s (if applicable) activities. Meeting minutes or verbal reporting is appropriate. If the committee or subcommittee(s) has not met, the chairperson must inform the parish council that no report is available.
l) The chairperson of each committee and at a minimum of annually, review their goals and objectives noting any anomalies. A report of the findings from the review and a budget which details the goals and objectives for the upcoming year is prepared for the parish council.
m) Plans and budgets are due to be submitted before the end of March each year.
n) Each committee’s chairperson is responsible for monitoring their subcommittee’s annual review and report. The committee chairperson may assign this duty to the subcommittee chairperson. In such cases, subcommittee chairpersons will provide to the parish council their annual report and budget.
ARTICLE VI – SUBCOMMITTEES
Section 1. Subcommittees serve an important role as they represent and carry-out the goals and mission of St Alphonsus. Subcommittees are established as the parish council reviews and approve short and long term goals of the parish. Subcommittees may be short or long term in duration depending on their purpose and participation from the members of St Alphonsus.
a) All parishioners are encouraged to participate as a subcommittee member.
b) Members from the committee assigned to the subcommittee are encouraged to become a member of, or participate in, the activities of the subcommittee(s) they oversee.
c) All parish subcommittee meetings are open to all members of the parish.
d) Notice of such meetings shall be published in advance.
e) Each subcommittee elects a chairperson. The chairperson of each subcommittee is responsible for carrying out their goals, objectives and keeping to their budget.
f) Each subcommittee defines and sets its goals and objectives using the recommendations for the six areas of ministry listed in Article IV.
g) Meeting minutes are recorded and submitted to the chairperson of the committee the subcommittee has been assigned.
h) Subcommittees at a minimum of annually, review their goals and objectives noting any anomalies. A report of the findings from the review and a budget which details the goals and objectives for the upcoming year is prepared for the committee assigned to the subcommittee.
i) Plans and budgets are due to be submitted before the end of February each year.
ARTICLE VII – PASTORAL PLANNING
Section 1. The basic leadership role of the parish council in conjunction with the pastor is to give direction to the parish. Practically speaking, this role means pastoral planning. This involves:
b) Writing or reviewing a Parish Mission Statement
c) Conducting a Needs Assessment
d) Completing a Parish Profile
e) Setting Goals and Objectives to support a Parish Mission Statement
Section 2. Parish input and working with the commissions and other parish organizations are major concerns of the parish council in pastoral planning. All must be involved in the planning, but it is the responsibility of the parish council to see that the planning is carried out and to approve all policy matters even when shaped by a committee or commission/area of ministry.
ARTICLE VIII - COOPERATION BETWEEN THE PARISH COUNCIL AND THE FINANCE COUNCIL
Section 1. It is the role of the parish finance council, not the parish council, to advise the pastor in matters pertaining to the financial affairs of the parish. According to The Diocese of Davenport Synod V, 1986, however, the parish council “must review all aspects of parish life including finance.”
Section 2. The various committees, areas of ministry and other groups should submit their budgets to the parish council for approval and recommendation and then to the parish finance council for determination. The parish council would not change any commission budget but would review and recommend. The parish finance council would not be bound by the recommendation but would have to give it weight.
Section 3. The representatives from Synod V expected the two councils would meet together for their final recommendation to the pastor.
Visual image of how the roles of the Parish Council, and Finance Council work
ARTICLE IX – REVIEW AND AMENDMENTS
Section 1. The Parish Council shall review the By-Laws on an ongoing basis, and revise as needed. By-Laws should be re-evaluated whenever a major subsidiary program is created.
Section 2. The Parish Council, by a two-thirds vote, shall have the power to amend these By-Laws. No amendment shall be made in conflict with the basic concepts of the Diocesan Parish Council Guidelines or of the laws of the land. Any proposed amendment needs to be delivered to the Parish Council a minimum 14 days prior to any action being taken to allow the council proper review.