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Archbishop says councillors are to be missionaries, not ‘mere administrators’

Pastoral commissioning: Pastoral council chairpersons gathered around the sanctuary to make an act of service at the Commissioning Mass on Sunday, July 6.

Pastoral commissioning: Pastoral council chairpersons gathered around the sanctuary to make an act of service at the Commissioning Mass on Sunday, July 6.

By Emilie Ng 

PARISH pastoral councils are more necessary than ever in the life of the Church but for more than mere administration, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said to council representatives from more than 60 parishes and 13 deaneries last weekend.

Archbishop Coleridge presided at the councils’ annual Commissioning Mass at St Stephen’s Cathedral on July 6.

The Mass commissions representatives from parishes and deaneries who will be pastoral leaders working with their parish pastors for the next 12 months.

The Archbishop said parish councils, which were “an immediate legacy of the Second Vatican Council”, helped the Church “to be more co-ordinated, collaborative and communicative for mission”.

“Many would think they are not quite as necessary or alluring, but they are more necessary than ever,” he said.

Mission, not administration, was at the heart of parish pastoral councils, the Archbishop said.

“I am not commissioning you for mere administration, but I’ve commissioned you to be those who work with your pastors, to see how we might become a more missionary and less self-absorbed Church,” he said.

A highlight of the Mass was the “marvelous” choristers made up of parishioners from across the archdiocese who together led the congregation in worship.

It was the first time different parishes combined to form a choir for the Commissioning Mass.

Reflecting on the Gospel reading for Sunday, July 6, the Archbishop invited parish council members to take up Christ’s invitation to carry His burden.

“What is the burden? It is the Cross,” he said.

“Only that Cross will not destroy as it is the Cross of Jesus Christ.

“It does not destroy; it creates, and it creates the power of humanity.”

The Archbishop challenged pastoral council members, in clinging to the Cross, to then bring Christ to others in their parishes.

“Share with others the superlative gift of Christ’s rest, so we may become more spiritual people,” he said.

“You are the apple of the eye in this archdiocese, and if we can’t get it right, the whole Church will struggle.”

Parish pastoral councils are supported by the Secretariat for Pastoral Councils, comprising representatives from 14 deaneries.

Presentation Sister Mary Franzmann, from archdiocesan agency Evangelisation Brisbane, is the support and resource person for parish councils and a member of the secretariat.

Sr Franzmann said parish pastoral council members were encouraged to live out the joy of the Gospel, their mandate for the next 12 months.

Secretariat member for the South Coast Deanery Sue Milsom, who has been on the secretariat for more than three years, said her role was to provide a “personal connection” with council members and the archdiocese.

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