Another ten days has passed since I last wrote. The funerals have slowed down with just one funeral in church and a separate burial last week. That doesn’t mean everything has slowed down.
I spent Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in Rochester for a new diocesan leadership program. The program began with these two days but will meet one afternoon a month beginning in October to discuss leadership techniques and the role of the pastor.
This week’s presentation talked about what Canon Law calls for in a parish, such as the role of the Pastoral Council and Finance Council. Of course, the role of the Finance Council is to review the budget and other financial components of the parish and advise the pastor on options. The name “Pastoral Council” may be unfamiliar to some. It is more commonly known as the Parish Council but its technical name is the Parish Pastoral Council. When we say “Parish Council” we might think of an all-encompassing council. The Pastoral Council does need to know what is going on in the parish but it is not their role to oversee every little activity.
For instance, while the Parish Pastoral Council needs to know how the parish budget is doing, it is the role of the Finance Council to worry about the details. The role of the Parish Pastoral Council is to be forward thinking. To this requires knowing what is going on now and looking forward and setting goals to help the parish grow and serve the needs of the people in accord with God’s needs.
Of course, it works both ways. The Finance Council needs to be aware of the goals so that the budget reflects the goals and needs of the parish.
The presentations this week also talked about such things as dealing with personnel issues and “risk management.” Some might wonder why does the priest need to know about personnel policy and risk management. What do they have to do with being a priest?
Well, such issues may not be part of the direct ministry of a priest but they are part of the role of the pastor. The pastor is to shepherd the people to grow in our relationship with Jesus. To do this requires staff and buildings. Hence, the need for the pastor to be aware of personnel issues and risk management.
The good news for me as pastor is that I don’t have to handle all the details of such policies. That’s why we have our new Director of Finance and Administration. It is his job to handle the day-to-day administrative issues but I need to be aware of what he is doing to ensure it conforms to the spiritual needs and ministries of the parish.
I can’t do everything myself. I don’t want to do everything myself. That’s why we have staff, councils, and volunteers. It is only by working together with the different gifts we have been given and working in accord with God’s Will that we are able to come closer to God. The pastor has a vital role to play in all of this.
I take my responsibility seriously as pastor. I pray that I lead Immaculate Conception Parish in accord with God’s Will. I can only do so by the gifts God has given me and with the help of parishioners and staff.