Glossary

Some of the words used in this website and in general reading materials about Parish Pastoral Councils may need some explanations to enable full understanding by everyone. Some of them are treated here from the experience of some members of the Working Group. If there are others that you think need clarification, please let us know through the Ask a Question facility on the site.

Code of Canon Law
This is the code of uniform Church legislation governing the orderly pastoral administration and leadership of the Church. Our present Code of Canon Law was promulgated by the Pope in 1983. It contains 1752 Canons. Canon 536 is the applicable law governing the functioning of Pastoral Councils.

Consensus
The collegial process of arriving at a decision selecting one option from among many through a process of gathering relevant information, open discussion and resolution of major concerns connected with the preferred option. Without necessarily meaning total agreement, and without compromising the views and needs of the participants, consensus reaches a decision that all members are able to accept willingly and uphold sincerely.

Deanery
Usually the name given to a geographic grouping of Parishes within a Diocese, designed to enable better participation on a regional basis, and resource-sharing to facilitate more effective programs.

Ministry
Usually a special work or Office of service to the community to support its engagement in the mission to which all its members are called by Baptism. Ministry usually requires a specific calling and charism from the community, and an appropriate commissioning for its service. For example, for the Ministry of Priesthood, candidates are commissioned by the call of the Bishop to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Other ministries are commissioned through non-Sacramental rites. Not all are called to ministry in this sense.

Mission
In general, a group’s mission describes the core purpose for which it comes together. Paragraph three of the Vatican II Document, The Church in the Modern World, described the Mission of the Church as the continuation of Christ’s work under the lead of the befriending Spirit. Christ’s work is to spread the Good News [Gospel] and so to transform the world in its light towards love, justice, peace and reconciliation. All who are baptised are called to participate in this Mission.

Pastoral
This descriptive word designates those reflections, conversations and actions that concern the community’s mission to proclaim the Gospel. It refers to all those matters that respect the communal life, celebration, growth in faith, stewardship of the earth, and loving concern for others that comprise the key elements of that mission.

Pastoral Planning
The prayerful and reflective, systematic and collaborative process by which the community defines their realised situation, identifies their common purpose and their vision for its fulfilment, sets goals and priorities to achieve their vision, and then devise scheduled actions and resources to achieve their goals.

Vision
Vision is a clear description of the difference it sees itself achieving in the foreseeable future as it fulfils its purpose as best it can. For example if the mission or purpose is to plant a tree, the vision will be a clear description of what the gardener wants that tree to be like when it is full-grown.