Parish Council Constitution

Parish Council Constitution
Mt. Pleasant, IA

This organization shall be known as the St. Alphonsus Parish Council of Mt Pleasant, Iowa.

The purpose of the parish council is to:

Section 1: Foster the pastoral work of the Church as it is carried out in the parish in all its aspects.

Section 2: Serve as a permanent forum for constructive dialogue among the priests, deacons, religious, and other laity in the parish, so they may work in close cooperation.

Section 3: Collaborate with the pastor in providing leadership, direction, resources, and encouragement to the apostolic and spiritual development of all parishioners, of whatever age or status.

Section 4: Continually survey the needs, both spiritual and temporal, of the parish, the community, and the diocese, and to develop and implement programs aimed at fulfilling those needs.

Section 5: Serve as a coordinating body for all organizations and group activities within the parish.

Section 6: The parish council shall possess a consultative vote only, and be governed by norms determined by the Diocesan Bishop.

Section 1: The duties of the parish council include 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.

Section 1. In May of each year, four members shall be elected for a period not to exceed three years beginning July 1. A nominating committee shall be appointed by the parish council to nominate candidates from the parish for election [or random selection] to the parish council. All active members of the parish 18 years of age or older shall be eligible for nomination. Any member of the parish 18 years of age or older as of the date of the election shall be entitled to one vote in this election. For better participation, distribution and collection of ballots, voting should be done within the structure of the Mass, after the closing prayer.

Section 2. a. The pastor, parochial vicars and deacons assigned to the parish and two lay directors shall be ex-officio, voting members of the parish council. In order to assure continuity or expertise, others may be appointed by the pastor as ex-officio non-voting members of the parish council.
b. Student representatives may be elected as ex-officio non-voting members by students in grades 9-12, one student being elected in each year. When elected, such student must be in the 9th-11th grade. Student representatives shall serve terms of two years. No student may be re-elected more than once

c. Any Religious in the parish or working for the parish shall serve on the Parish Council as an ex-officio non-voting member.

d. The twelve members shall be those who were elected to the Parish Council, regardless of whether such parishioner is also a member of the Parish Council, as a lay director or finance council member, provided, however, that no member shall be entitled to cast more than one vote on any matter.

Section 3. The number of parish council members may be altered by the action of the parish council by a two-thirds vote, at any regular or special parish council meeting. Terms of membership in any election may be staggered as necessary. A member may be elected and then reelected to serve two consecutive terms.

Section 1. A vacancy on the parish council shall be filled by the person who in the previous election received the greatest number of votes after those elected. Any vacancy unable to be filled in such manner shall be filled by the parish council.

Section 2. At any regular or special meeting of the parish council duly called, any one or more of the members of the parish council may be removed, for cause, such as absence from three consecutive meetings, by a two-thirds vote of the elected members and a successor may be then and there appointed, as provided in Section 1 of this article, to fill the vacancy. Any member whose removal has been proposed shall be given an opportunity to be heard at the meeting.

Section 1. As a viable parish, St. Alphonsus will address six ministry areas as it lives out the fullness of our faith. These ministry areas include: church life, faith formation, family life, finance and administration, liturgy and social action.

Section 2. The parish council may designate whatever committees it deems advisable. However, the committee structure of the parish does not need to parallel the six areas of ministry. Committees may be structured according to need. Committees may appoint parish members as needed.

Section 1. Regular meetings of the parish council shall be held at least quarterly at a date and time designated by the parish council. All parish council meetings shall be open to all members of the parish, and notice of such meetings shall be published at least a week in advance. The president shall compile the agenda in consultation with the pastor. Portions of meetings involving personnel issues may be conducted in closed session. Minutes of the closed session are recorded and dated but are not available to the public.

Section 2. Special meetings of the parish council may be called by the pastor on three days notice to each parish council member given personally, mail, electronically or via telephone, which notice shall state time, place, and purpose of the meetings. Special meetings shall be called by the pastor, the president, or secretary in like manner and on like notice on the written request of at least two-fifths of the parish council. If a special meeting of the parish council is called, parishioners shall be informed as soon and to the extent possible.

Section 3. At all meetings of the parish council, a majority of voting members shall constitute a quorum for transaction of business. The acts of the majority at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the acts of the parish council.

Section 1. Members of the parish council shall elect from among their lay members a president, vice president, and secretary. The president shall preside at all meetings of the council and the secretary shall record the minutes. If the president is absent, the vice president shall preside.

Section 2. Officers of the parish council are to be elected for terms of two years, and are eligible to succeed themselves once.

Section 3. The Parish Council President shall:

a) Insure an open channel of communication between the pastor, the parish and the Council members so that parish concerns are brought before the council.

b) Disseminate meeting agendas, minutes and reports prepared in consultation with the pastor to Council members and parishioners at least a week in advance of the meeting.

c) Inform parishioners of Council minutes and related policies.

d) Provide a process for self-evaluation of Council effectiveness at the end of each term of office.

e) Appoint the committee, if needed, to initiate the process for the selection of new members.

f) Provide orientation of new members and committee chairs.

Section 1. The parish council is concerned with parish-wide issues and policies. The principle of subsidiarity allows the pastor, the parish council, the committees, and parish staff to operate effectively. Parish councils shall have the power to foster all the pastoral activity of the parish within the norms of Canon Law and ecclesiastical directions.

Section 2. As the leader of the community, in compliance with Canon Law, particular law, and directives from the Bishop, the pastor has the right to veto. If the pastor vetoes any parish council proposal, he should explain his reason for the veto. His explanation should include one or more of the following reasons based on: Canon or particular law, directives from the bishop, faith, morals, liturgical practice or the good of the community.

Section 1: The Parish Council, by a two-thirds vote, shall have the power to amend this Constitution. No amendment shall be made that is in conflict with the basic concepts of the Diocesan Parish Council Guidelines or of the laws of the land.

Section 2: 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.

Section 1. The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the activities of the Parish Council in all cases in which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these by-laws and any special rules of order or the laws of the land.