St. Thomas Aquinas Parish of New Port Richey, Florida, in order to assist in the evangelizing mission of the parish, to facilitate collaboration in decision making and widespread lay participation established the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Pastoral Council.
The council works with the pastor, other clergy and staff to carry out the mission of Christ through a welcoming, grateful, spiritual and service oriented environment for all. In doing so the council: is a consultative body to the pastor, enables active and purposeful communication among the clergy, staff, ministries/organizations and parishioners, assists in the apostolic work of the church through its sanctifying, charitable, social, educational and financial roles, assesses the needs of the parish community and recommends programs aimed at fulfilling those needs, and fosters the mission of the parish Learning. Living, Sharing the Good News.
The council consists of about 12 members some of whom are elected by the parishioners and others appointed by the pastor. These elections are held in May. The pastor, associate pastor and coordinator of pastoral services are ex officio, non-voting, members of the council. Terms of office begin each July first. Any member of the parish (except staff) may be nominated for a position on the council.
Each member of the council serves as a liaison to a few parish ministries/organizations. This ensures that every ministry/organization is represented on the council. The council members communicate regularly with the heads of the ministries/organizations. This communication serves two purposes: 1. information presented at the council meetings that needs to be widely disseminated to parishioners can be done through the ministries/organizations and 2. ministries/organizations may mention to the liaison information or concerns that they wish to bring before the council.
The council meets on the third Tuesday of each month (except December) from 6:30 – 8:45 p.m. Any parishioner may attend the council meeting in the parish center.
Over the past few years the parish council has recommended to the pastor such things as: 25th anniversary celebration of the parish, 25th Anniversary Capital Campaign, Social Justice Committee, a five o’clock Sunday Teen Mass, semi-annual meeting of parish council, parish staff and leadership teams of ministries/organizations, reading and reflection on of coming weekend’s gospel by the ministries/organizations at their meetings, publishing bimonthly Ministry Newsletter for the heads of all ministries/organizations, review of parish participation by families receiving financial support to send their children to Bishop Larkin School, establishing Christ Renew His Parish program and small Christian Communities, and making presentations at weekend masses on the Annual Pastoral Appeal. 1/06/09