The Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary launched “Guidelines for Pastoral Councils – Treoirlínte do Chomhairlí Tréadach” in the McWilliam Park Hotel Claremorris last week. The guidelines are published in both English and Irish and consist of a 16-page booklet outlining the purpose, vision and term of office of pastoral councils.
Pastoral councils are usually made up a group of between 10 and 15 parishioners who work in partnership with the local clergy in identifying the pastoral needs of a parish and in responding to these needs with the resources available. These councils are assuming an increasing responsibility in many parishes as the role of the laity identified in the Second Vatican Council becomes a reality and as the number of priests available to serve in parishes is no longer what it used to be. Following consultation with pastoral councils in the diocese of Tuam in June 2007 one of the major needs identified by people involved in pastoral councils in the 55 parishes, was the need for a set of guidelines for pastoral councils. The publication of these guidelines marks a response to this identified need.
The booklet also contains helpful information on the various roles and subgroups within the pastoral council as well as useful hints on the effective running of pastoral council meetings.
The diocese of Tuam covers parts of counties Mayo, Galway, and Roscommon and present at the launch were representatives from pastoral councils from various parishes throughout the diocese. Speaking at the launch, Archbishop Neary said: “It is my hope that the guidelines will provide a shared vision of what we understand by pastoral council throughout the archdiocese.”
Copies of the guidelines are available at bookshops in Knock, Tuam, Castlebar, and Westport.