MANDATE: What does the Eparchial Pastoral Council Do?
Eparchial Pastoral Council
Article I: Mission Statement
1. To assist the Bishop in promoting the life of the gospel among the people of God.
Article II: Purpose
1. To advise the Bishop on pastoral matters concerning the Church and in particular the Eparchy of Edmonton.
Article III: Responsibility
1. To study pastoral matters concerning the Eparchy of Edmonton and to propose practical solutions concerning them.
Article IV: Code of Ethics
1. Diligence: to act reasonably, prudently, in good faith and with a view to the best interests of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Eparchy of Edmonton, and its faithful.
2. Loyalty: to place the interests of the Church first, and not to use one’s position as a member of the Eparchial Pastoral Council to further private interests.
3. Obedience: to act within the mission of the Church and within the scope of Church laws, statutes and decrees.
Article V: Goals and Objectives
1. To support the Bishop in fulfilling the mission statement of the Eparchy.
2. To develop a workable and active Eparchial Pastoral Council.
3. To develop Regional Pastoral Councils.
4. To develop a Parish Pastoral Council formation program; and to provide training and support for new and current Parish Pastoral Council members.
5. To collaborate with other Eparchial councils, commissions and offices such as the Presbyteral Council, the College of Consultors, the Ukrainian Catholic Council, the Religious Education Centre, Youth Ministry, and Vocations Commission.
6. To suggest topics for an eparchial sobor (assembly).
7. To aid in the implementation of eparchial sobor (assembly) laws, declarations and decrees.
Article VI: Membership
1. The Council is presided over by the Bishop of Edmonton and is composed of at least fifteen members of the Christian faithful appointed by him, with lay members comprising at least one-half of the Council.
2. The members are to be designated from among the Christian faithful who are of firm faith, good morals and prudence, and who are capable of evaluating pastoral choices with an ecclesial spirit.
3. The members are to be chosen so as to be representative of the Christian faithful of the Eparchy with regard to types of persons, associations and other endeavours.
4. In addition to the members mentioned above, the Protosyncellus (Vicar General) and Chancellor are ex-officio members of the Council.
5. Members of the Council are appointed for a three-year term, once renewable. They may be reappointed following a three-year lapse on the Council.
6. If any member retires from the Council for any reason before the expiration of the term, the Bishop shall appoint another in his or her place to fill the unexpired term. Such members may be reappointed for one additional term.
Article VII: Officers
1. The Bishop, as the president of the Council:
a) Convokes and presides at the meetings, either personally or through a delegate.
b) Prepares or causes to be prepared the agenda for each meeting.
c) Appoints a chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary for a twelve-month period.
d) Publishes the matters dealt with in the Council.
Article VIII: Meetings
1. Meetings are to be held bi-monthly or as otherwise determined by the Bishop.
2. A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the members.
3. At the meetings of the council, those invited by the Bishop may participate where necessary as non-voting members.
4. The minutes of the meetings are to be recorded in the proper minute book and signed by the chairperson and secretary once they have been approved at the next meeting.
Article IX: Committees
1. The Council may set up standing and ad hoc committees from among its members to advise it on matters and questions of special pastoral concern.
Article X: Reference to General Norms
1. With regard to any matters not treated in the present statutes, the norms of canon law shall be applied.
Article XI: Dissolution
1. The Council can be dissolved by the Bishop if it is no longer fulfilling the function committed to it for the good of the Eparchy or is gravely abusing it, after consultation with the College of Consultors.
2. During the vacancy of the Eparchial See the Council ceases.
Article XII: Amendment
1. Having consulted with the Council, these statutes may be amended by the Bishop.
HISTORY: Where does the Eparchial Pastoral Council come from?
Historical Origin and Nature
The origin of the Eparchial Pastoral Council stems primarily from the wish of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, who stated in their decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church:
It is much to be desired that in every eparchy there should be established its own pastoral council. The eparchial bishop himself should preside over it; and specially selected clergy, religious and laity should play their part in it. The function of this council will be to examine those matters affecting pastoral activities, to assess them and put forward practical conclusions about them (Christus Dominus, no. 27).
The creation of the Eparchial Pastoral Council is intended to give concrete expression to the principle enunciated in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church that all members of the faithful, by reason of their baptism, have a part to play in the threefold mission of the Church, namely, to teach, to govern and to sanctify, each in accord with his or her respective role (cf. Lumen gentium, no. 33).
This new body within the eparchial structure is meant to give substance to the understanding of the shared responsibility of the people of God and to be representative of the organic reality of the local Church.
The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches incorporates the conciliar directive into the general law of the Church and implements it canonically (cc. 272-275). The canons, in effect, determine that the Eparchial Pastoral Council is designed to study and to deliberate on pastoral matters and make practical suggestions for the benefit of the local Church.
The norms of the Council found in the Code, which are faithful to and reflective of its conciliar origins, are founded on certain key principles, which of themselves delineate the particular character of this singular consultative body.
The Council is established to serve the needs of the entire local Church, that is, the Eparchy of Edmonton.
The Council is closely joined with the Bishop, over which he himself presides; it is not a group set apart from him.
It is group which represents a cross section of the whole eparchy; it is the fullest expression of shared responsibility within the local Church; it is not a lay association or a lay council.
It is a set of advisors who will investigate the Eparchy’s pastoral life and recommend means to promote it and improve it in order that the people of God of this portion of the Church may pattern their lives more completely on the gospel; it is not a decision making body.
As its name implies the Eparchial Pastoral Council is to focus on “pastoral” concerns. The Second Vatican Council placed pastoral at the heart of apostolic succession, designating that the pastoral function includes teaching, governing and sanctifying (cf. Lumen gentium, no. 22). Pastoral then is concerned with the fulfillment of the Church’s mission in the world, with the care of the people of God, and with the call to conversion to those who have not yet heard the gospel. In effect, a pastoral focus entails consideration of what it is to be Church in the world.
The pastoral activity of the Church is aimed at all groups of persons, overlooking no sector or class of those who are to be evangelized or catechized. It requires the cooperation and coordination of all apostolic labourers, namely, laity, religious and clergy. It calls for a concerted effort in all sectors of the apostolate: liturgical, catechetical, missionary, charitable, social, cultural, family and educational so that all the resources of the apostolate in an orderly fashion are brought together in a corporate activity that aims at promoting the well-being and advantage of the whole eparchy.
Consequently, the Council is to occupy itself with and reflect on all those things which pertain to the Church’s life and ministry, which include:
Promoting the perfection of Christian life, especially as this is realized in supporting spouses and parents, and fostering Christian family life;
Sanctifying through divine worship, particularly the cultivation of a knowing and active participation in the divine praises as it is celebrated in the mysteries (sacraments) and other forms of public worship, especially the Divine Eucharist;
Teaching the faith, as it is done specifically through the proclamation of the word of God, the instruction of persons in the truths of the faith and the offering of catechetical formation;
Evangelizing, whether in the missions, in advancing Christian unity, or in particular concern for members of the Church who have fallen away from the practice of the faith;
Fostering spiritual growth and love of neighbour, specifically as this is expressed in reaching out to and consoling the poor, the lonely, the afflicted, the sick and dying, those exiled from their homes, and any weighed down with heavy difficulties; and
Animating the world with a Christian spirit, especially through the apostolate of charity and justice which is aimed at perfecting the temporal order.
Process of “Pastoral” Reflection
As a group constituted to undertake an ongoing reflection on the pastoral direction of the Eparchy, the Council is to examine and study all matters relative to pastoral activity, weighing them carefully and proposing practical steps to be taken.
They are to do so in order that whatever affects the needs of persons to be served by the local Church, that is the Eparchy, may be realized. By its study and reflection, the Council is to provide the judgments necessary to enable the eparchial community to plan its pastoral program systematically and to fulfill it effectively.
In pursuing its pastoral mandate, the Council is to consider the life and activity of the people of God, that is, to research the needs, the ideas, the hopes of the faithful, their actions and their accomplishments. It is to do so in consultation with persons, offices and commissions which specialize in the area under consideration.
The Council is to develop and recommend pastoral plans and direction through a careful process of inquiry and research, prayerful deliberation, mutual dialogue and shared wisdom, aiming at a common vision intended to benefit and build up the Church in the Eparchy and to promote the spread of the gospel
In occupying itself with the multiple areas of the Church’s pastoral activity, it is the task of the Council to cooperate in the ministry of governance by offering the Bishop the service of counsel flowing from the lived faith experience of the people of God in the local Church, which it represents. It is not the Council’s task to direct, to enact, to regulate or to authorize.
Thus it is proper to the Council, in keeping with its particular character, to:
Perceive a pastoral need;
Study it with prayer and dialogue; and
Propose to the Bishop a particular way to answer that need.
Understanding of “Consultative”
. The Council is a “consultative” body. As such it is to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who is continually present in the Church, as it is to be discovered in the lived experience of the Christian community and in the prophetic call rooted in the gospel. This discernment of the Spirit in the structured manner of an established Eparchial organism acknowledges the variety of gifts to be found among the people of God, as well as the diversity of roles, and that all these are given for the building up of the Body of Christ.
Before taking a major decision concerning the pastoral welfare of the local Church, the Bishop is to seek the advice of those who are knowledgeable and concerned as represented in the membership of the Council. At the same time all members who are entitled to be present for the meeting have the right to speak and to be heard.
Coordination within the Eparchial Governance
The Council is to work in coordination with other consultative bodies within the Eparchial government, such as the Presbyteral Council, the Regional Councils and the Parish Pastoral Councils, carefully defining and observing respective competencies, by setting up joint meetings when this is advantageous and warranted, and through other forms of collaboration. In spirit and character, the Council is to be the principal form of collaboration, dialogue and discernment within the local Church, that is, the Eparchy of Edmonton.
Projects and Hands-on Parish Resources
a. 25 Year Pastoral Plan – To Know God, to Love God, and to Serve God (ENG and UKR)
b. Becoming a More Welcoming Parish – Towards a Ministry of Welcome (ENG and UKR)
c. Survey – How Welcoming is My Parish?
d. A Progress Report – 2012-2015 – Implementing the 25 Year Pastoral Plan
e. Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav – The Vibrant Parish – A Place to Encounter the Living Christ (ENG and UKR)
f. Vibrant Parishes Guide for Laity (ENG and UKR)
g. Stewardship – A Way of Christian Life (ENG and UKR)
h. Purpose and Role of the Parish Welcoming Committee (ENG)
i. “Best practices” As it Relates to Pillar Two: “To Love God” (ENG)
j. “Who is a Parishioner?” (Baptism and membership in the Church; From baptism to Christian discipleship; and Parish membership and expectations) (ENG)
k. Communicating the Gospel Message Today (Go and tell others; The Great Commissioning of all Christians; Telling others our story; and Using social media) (ENG)
l. Eparchial Communication Plan (Executive summary; Background; Vision and Scope; Audiences; Purpose; Strategies; Objectives; Tactics; Events;
and Evaluation) (ENG)
m. Best Practices and Activities in Implementing the 25 Year Pastoral Plan – Pillar 1 – To Know God (The Word of God and Catechesis), Pillar 2 – To Love God (Liturgy and Prayer), and Pillar 3 – To Serve God (Building Community)
n. Programs Offered by Parishes in the Edmonton Eparchy (Best Practices) (ENG)