Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One of the greatest models of collaboration within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia continues to be the Parish Pastoral Council. Since the initial formation of councils in 1992, Pastors and Parish Pastoral Councils have labored to create and implement a vision of ongoing renewal within each parish. Through the service of Parish Pastoral Councils, mission statements and pastoral plans have been formulated and continue to be revised and implemented within each parish. It is my hope that these efforts have been fruitful experience for pastors, pastoral staff members, parish pastoral councils, and all parishioners.
As we journey together in this new millennium, the work of consultative bodies such as the Parish Pastoral Council, assists in fostering mutual relationships between the clergy and the laity. Working together, clergy and lay leaders seek new and creative methods to live fully the Christian mission in the context of contemporary life. In doing so, Parish Pastoral Councils “enable the proclamation of Christ to reach people, mold communities, and have a deep and incisive influence in bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 29).
All of us can look toward the future with the hope that Parish Pastoral Councils will continue to work collaboratively with pastors and parish staff members to bring greater vitality and vibrancy to parish life. To bring this hope to fruition, I encourage all pastors to remain committed to the development of Parish Pastoral Councils, consulting with them to address the varied aspects of parish life. I also encourage the laity to continue to step forward to lend their gifts and talents to the ongoing development of Parish Pastoral Councils and the building up of their parish communities as communities of prayer and worship, communities of faith and service.
I encourage Parish Pastoral Councils to continue the process of faith-filled discernment by remaining attentive to needs of their parish communities as well as the Church’s mandate: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15).