Prayer is an expression of our realisation that God and we share this experience of life together - and that God is at the same time so much more than we are! Prayer, then, is about our identity – sharers in the life of God, journeying always with the life of God, becoming more and more people whose lives are shaped by our recognition of this identity with God.
This is true of each of us, and true of us together as a Parish Pastoral Council.
A basic description of the Church – which also applies to the Parish and to the Parish Pastoral Council – is that we are a communion: believers in the life-death-resurrection of Jesus Christ drawn through Baptism and the Holy Spirit into communion with God and into communion with other disciples of Christ.
Prayer expresses this relationship we enjoy with God; and prayer together – as a Parish Pastoral Council – expresses that, ‘as a people together’, we participate in this communion relationship with God and with one another.
Prayer is an essential part of the life of a Parish Pastoral Council, for it articulates who we are: in communion together with God and with one another.
This prayer of the Parish Pastoral Council will take many forms – listening to the Word of God; articulating responses to the Word of God; reflecting on this Word; speaking out thanks, petition, praise, sorrow, concern, and resolve.
Each gathering of the Parish Pastoral Council will include time for prayer, prepared soundly. A common practice is to participate in prayer at the beginnings and closings of meetings. A prayerful attitude will underpin all the Council’s reflections, discussions, deliberations, decisions, actions. For “The Church exists for a solitary goal, and that is to carry forward the work of Christ under the lead of the befriending Spirit” [Vatican II, Church in the Modern World, 3] – and the Parish Pastoral Council has its role within this same goal.
With this prayerful attitude, it may also be appropriate at times to pause deliberately for prayer within a meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council. This could be the case where matters of very serious consequence for the Parish are to be considered and decided. It could be helpful where contentious matters have introduced some tension to the meeting.
The Parish Pastoral Council may also consider gathering for a time of prayer outside the regular meetings: during Advent, during Lent, during Ordinary Time – for a dedicated hour, or two; for a half-day, or whole day.
The other pages of this section offer some samples that may assist your Parish Pastoral Council in this essential part of your life.