American Martyrs and St. Patrick Catholic Church
Monday, January 30, 2023
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
CONSTITUTION  
 
 
PREAMBLE: PURPOSE 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SECTION 1. Amendments and revisions 
 
ARTICLE I. STANDING COMMITTEES 
SECTION 2. Administration Ministry   
SECTION 3. Education Ministry    
 

 

SECTION 1. The decision-making 
 
 
ARTICLE IV. NOMINATIONS & ELECTIONS
SECTION 1. Nominations for the Council, The Nomination/Election Committee, Preparations
SECTION 2. Elections, Ballots, Ballots Returned
SECTION 3.  Newly Elected Members and assuming their Duties
 
 
ARTICLE V. AMENDMENT & REVISIONS TO BY-LAWS
SECTION 1. Amendments & Revisions 
 
DOCUMENT HISTORY 

 
 
THE AMERICAN MARTYRS PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL IS ORGANIZED TO PROMOTE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF THE PARISH A SPIRIT OF RESPONSIBILITY, COOPERATION, AND MUTUAL HELP IN THEIR COMMON EFFORT TO PROVIDE A FULL AND PRODUCTIVE LIFE FOR THE PARISH. 
 
THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL IS THE UNIQUE FORM IN WHICH THE LOCAL CONGREGATION (PASTOR AND LAITY) MAY ACHIEVE UNITY OF PURPOSE AND ACTION. THE EFFORTS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL MUST BE DIRECTED TOWARD REACHING A CONSENSUS. 
 
 
The name of the organization shall be American Martyrs Parish Pastoral Council (hereafter referred to as “Council”).
 
To fulfill its purpose, the Council shall:
a. Prayerfully discern the needs of the parish community.
 
b. Be a voice by which the wishes of the Parishioners concerning matters of parish welfare might be made known to the Pastor and each other.
 
c. Serve as a consultative body to the Pastor, Parish Life Coordinator, or Administrator (hereinafter referred to as “Pastor”.
 
d. Collaborate with the Pastor in attaining the fullness of spiritual and temporal welfare of American Martyrs Parish.
 
e. Identify and call forth the gifts and talents of the members of the parish community.  
 
f. Develop and maintain a mission statement which embraces the total life and mission of the parish.
 
g. Establish clear and concise goals and objectives based on the parish mission statement and the emerging needs of the parish community. 
 
h. Coordinate the projects and activities of all its committees and of all groups or organizations under parish sponsorship to share its common responsibility to make the Gospel message known.
 
i. Promote collaboration with our sister parish St. Patrick in Salem. 
 
 
 
Every member of American Martyrs Parish who is confirmed and who is eighteen (18) years of age or older shall be eligible to serve as a member of the Council, except that only one member of a family living in the same household may serve at the same time. 
 
The Pastor shall enjoy ex-officio non-voting membership. 
 
An appointee or designee of the Parish Board of Education and the Chairperson of the Parish Finance Committee are ex-officio voting members of the council. 
 
   There may be up to three (3) voting members appointed by the pastor, with the advice of the Executive Committee, to the council to insure adequate parish representation. 
 
   The council may increase its membership as deemed necessary.   
 
 
Term length - The six (6) members elected by the parish shall serve for three (3) year terms with two (2) being elected each year. No member may be elected to more than two consecutive terms. 
 
Members appointed by the Pastor shall serve a two (2) year term. 
 
If a vacancy occurs during the Council year, it shall be filled by an individual chosen by a vote of the remaining Council members. The person will be elected to fill out the remainder of the vacated member’s term. The council may look to the previous election for likely candidates. 
 
A vacancy occurring in the appointed members could be fill or not by the pastor, at his discretion, by appointing a new member to finish that term.
 
If a member cannot attend a regular meeting, that person will notify either the Pastor or the Chair to be excused and will send in any written report needed for that meeting.
 

If a member fails to attend one third (1/3) of the regular meetings (4) without notifying the Pastor or Chair, the Council will request the Pastor or Chair speak with the member and report back on the member's intentions. The member may resign or attend future meetings or fulfill the duties thereof.

Upon the individual's failure to do either, the Council will send a registered letter, signed by the both the Pastor and Chair before the next regular meeting, stating that a vote will be taken at that meeting to disqualify the individual from the Council. The individual may attend or not, but a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote will disqualify that member. The individual retains the right to run for election or be appointed in the future.

The council may reinstate a disqualified member if adequate cause is presented, and a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the Council members vote affirmatively for reinstatement.
 
 
The Pastor presides over the Council. All decisions and actions of the Council are subject to his ratification.
 
The officers of the Council shall consist of Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary, all of whom shall be elected annually by the Council membership. Any elected member of the Council is eligible for any office. 
 
Officers shall serve no more than two consecutive terms. 
They shall be elected at the annual June meeting and shall take office in July and serve until their successors are duly elected and qualified. 
 
Executive Committee:  The elected officers, Finance Committee Chair, and Pastor shall serve as Council Executive Committee. 
 
The Executive Committee may meet between regular council meetings when special assistance or decisions are required on urgent parish business. 
 
Duties of the chair - The chair shall have the following duties: 
a. call and chair all regular and special meetings of the Council.
b. stay apprised of all activities of the Council.
c. convene the Executive Committee when special assistance or decisions are required on parish business.
d. prepare agenda for meeting from prior minutes, email it to all members and the Pastor a week before the meeting for topic editions under headings, and print a copy for each member and the Pastor for the meeting.

e. At the annual July meeting, distribute a welcome packet to new members, including a copy of the Constitution and Bylaws, and a list of member's names, postal and email addresses, and telephone numbers of all Council members, and any other information deemed necessary, as well as providing other members with the updates to the Council members' contact list.

 
Vice Chair Duties - The Vice-Chair shall have the following duties: 
a. perform all the duties of the Chair when the Chair is absent or unable to act.
b. succeed the Chair in case of resignation or disqualification.
 
 
The secretary shall have the following duties:
a. record minutes of Council meetings.
b. publish all Council minutes in parish bulletin;
c. maintain an attendance record of all Council members.
d. maintain a current record of the names, postal and email addresses and telephone numbers of all Council members, 
    and provide that information to each member, the Pastor, and the Chair.
e. receive and dispose of all correspondence as directed.
f. preserve all Council minutes, reports and documents committed to his/her care.
g. maintain a record of dates for both officers' and members' terms, to be read aloud annually at the                                                        April meeting in preparation for elections. 
 
 
Areas of Ministry - The Council is assisted in its duties by parish committees, boards and organizations which are categorized within five (5) areas of ministry: 
 
a. SPIRITUAL LIFE MINISTRY – which provides individual and communal opportunities for spiritual growth for the parish community.
 
b. ADMINISTRATION MINISTRY – which carefully utilizes and monitors the human and material resources necessary to accomplish the parish mission.
 
c. EDUCATION MINISTRY – which encompasses all aspects of ministry that can be termed educational.
 
d. FAMILY LIFE AND SOCIAL CONCERNS MINISTRY – which is to inform and involve the parish community in service to one another and to the larger community of city, state, nation and the world;
 
e. COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY – which is to promote a positive image of the parish as a community of faith. 
 
Committees - In each Area of Ministry, committees are established to assist in accomplishing the objectives for each ministry area. 
 
Committee Objectives - Committees, boards and organizations within a particular area of Ministry shall determine their specific objectives in accord with the goals and directives of the Council and Archdiocesan policy-making bodies. Each committee shall maintain a written log of schedule, activities and projects to pass on to the next year’s committees. 
 
 
Amendments and revisions to the constitution may take place at any regular or special meeting of the Council by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members of the Council. Amendments must be presented in writing to the members of the Council at least ten (10) days prior to any meeting. Any amendments submitted should be discussed at the meeting at which it is presented but not voted on until the next regular meeting. 
 
ADOPTED: July 1, 1975
 
REVISED: November 10, 1985
 
REVISED: June 21, 1994
 
REVISED: November 17, 2022
 
 
 
 
SECTION 1. SPIRITUAL LIFE MINISTRY
a. Liturgical Committee shall consist of a member of the Council with a minimum of one (1) additional member of the parish. It shall assist in promotion of knowledge and participation in all divine worship services and inter-faith activities: including the roles of readers, lay Eucharistic ministers, choir members, servers, etc.  
 
SECTION 2. ADMINISTRATION MINISTRY
a. Finance Committee shall consist of a Chair, and a minimum of two (2) other members of the parish. It shall approve budgets and report to the Council its recommendations concerning income received from offertory collections and expenses of Parish excepting those relating to the Pastor. It shall also review and make recommendations and approve all audits, financial statements and extraordinary fund-raising activities. 
 
b. Property and Physical Improvements Committee shall consist of a member of the Council with a minimum of two (2) other members of the parish. It shall study and make recommendations to the Council on proposed capital improvements and major repairs and conduct periodic inspection of all parish property. 
 
SECTION 3. EDUCATION MINISTRY
a. The Director or Coordinator of Education shall share the Pastor’s and the Parish Pastoral Council’s responsibility for that aspect of total ministry called education ministry, including children's religious education classes, sacrament preparation, adult instruction, etc.
 
SECTION 4. FAMILY LIFE AND SOCIAL CONCERNS MINISTRY
Parish Liaison Committee shall consist of a member of the Council with a minimum of two (2) additional parish members. This committee will keep a current directory of the parishioners and exercise personal contact by sponsoring parish recreational and social events and performing tasks to promote parish community life, such as providing funeral meals and assistance and organizing social opportunities for interaction of parish members.
 
SECTION 5. COMMUNICATION MINISTRY
Evangelization Committee shall consist of a member of the Council with a minimum of two (2) other members of the parish. It shall be the function of this committee to promote within the parish a sense of faith outreach to the community-at-large, such as making parish schedules available, assisting with pro-life and other community activities, as well as outreach to each other within the parish by welcoming new members and assisting one another in daily life.
 
SECTION 6. Reports 
All parish committees, boards and organizations shall submit a monthly, brief, written report on their activities and proposals to the Council. 
  
SECTION 7. Ad-Hoc
Special ad hoc committees may be established from time to time by agreement of the Council membership to meet specific objectives. Such committees cease to exist once those objectives are met. 
 
 
SECTION 1. Calendar
The Council shall meet once each month at the time, date and place to be agreed upon by the Council members and published in the parish bulletin. 
 
SECTION 2. Parishioner Appeal
The Council will formally hear suggestions and petitions from members of the parish under the following conditions: 
 

a. Under "communications and petitions by parishioners for Council members" in order of meeting (Section 7) Suggestions will be heard from the floor to be acted upon at the direction of the Chair, either in person or written form submitted to a member

b. If the agenda precludes consideration of an item at a meeting at which it is presented, the Secretary of the Council will notify the parishioner when the proposal will be on the agenda and ask the parishioner to attend the meeting to give further information.

SECTION 3. Tabled Items
Items before the Council are not to be tabled more than two (2) months. 
 
 SECTION 4. Meeting Length
Regular Meetings may not run over two (2) hours in length without the consent of three-fourths (3/4) of the members present and voting. 
 
 SECTION 5. Minutes
Minutes of the Council meeting shall be placed in the Parish bulletin after each Council meeting. 
 
 SECTION 6. Open to Parishioners
All regular meetings of the Council shall be open to members of the parish. Official action of the Council normally takes place in public meetings, except in the following cases: 
 
 a) The Chair may declare a portion of a meeting closed when deemed necessary. 
 
 b) Special meetings may be called by the Chair to deal with business the Council cannot table until the next monthly meeting or matters needing immediate action. Notice being given to all members of the Council at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the date of the meeting. 
 
c) Five (5) parishioners with a common concern may request a special meeting between regular meetings. The Chair can call that meeting with at least (24) hours' notice to members prior to the date of the meeting, unless he/she deems the concern able to be addressed at the next regular meeting with no harm done.
 
 d) Executive Committee meetings may be called by the Chair to deal with matters which in a public meeting could be a source of serious disadvantage to the parish or individuals. 
 
SECTION 7. ORDER OF THE MEETINGS
   a) Prayer/Reflection
   b) Attendance
   c) Acceptance of minutes
   d) Communications and petitions by parish members to Council members
   e) Pastor’s report
   f) Chair’s report
   g) Unfinished business
   h) Reports of committees in writing
   i)  new business
   j) Designation of next meeting date and time. 
  k) Adjournment.
   l) Prayer.
 
 
The decision-making process of the Council shall be by consensus.
 
If consensus cannot be reached by the Council, the following voting procedures shall be followed:
 
   a. A simple majority of the voting members of the council constitutes a quorum.
 
   b. Each elected member and each ex-officio voting member shall be entitled to one (1) vote.
 
   c. Actions of the Council require a simple majority vote.
 
SECTION 3. Ratification by the pastor of decisions made or actions to be performed will ordinarily be made at the Council meeting. If ratification is deferred or if the Pastor is absent from a meeting, his ratification will be presumed unless he indicates otherwise by notifying the Chair upon reading the minutes of the meeting. Such decision or action will not proceed until the next meeting if so notified, and the Chair will notify any committee or individual concerned.
 
If the Pastor withholds ratification, he should present to the council his reasons giving evidence that the action is contrary to:
 a. Faith or morals
 b. General Church Law
 c. Archdiocesan policy as established by the Archbishop and the duly recognized Boards and Commissions with which he shares responsibility. 
 d. The pastoral and administrative needs of the parishioners.
 e. The general good order of the parish.
 
 And therefore, recommend that the decision be reconsidered by the Council. If the Council again votes by a majority of its membership passage of the measure, the Council may appeal the decision to the Archbishop or his delegate. The purpose of the appeal shall be to determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to declare the Pastor’s action unjustified.
 
 
                                                                                   
At the regular April meeting, the terms of members will be read aloud and members at the end of a term will declare themselves open to run again, to request consideration for a 2-year appointment by the Pastor, or to leave the Council in July. The cancel will then publish in the bulletin, the openings occurring for the Parish Council, for elections in May. The usual number of elected members will be six (6) total serving at any one time unless action is taken by the Council to enlarge the elected membership.
 
a. The council will prepare nomination forms to be distributed to parish members at Masses on the next two (2) weekends, allowing for parishioners to nominate someone they believe would be an asset to the council or to self-nominate. Forms may be returned in the collection baskets or to the office by the end of the second weekend.
 
 b. The nominating/ election committee will consist of the pastor and the officers of the Council. They shall contact the nominees to obtain their consent to run, and request each consenting nominee to send a brief, two-to-three (2-3) line biography and a current picture for bulletin and website used. The committee will publish that information before elections occur.
 

c. The nominee committee will prepare a ballot from the consenting nominees, stating qualifications and needed signature to vote, as well as the nominee's names. Any member of the American Martyrs parish who is confirmed and is eighteen (18) years of age and is eligible to vote.       

SECTION 2.                                                                                                                                                                         Elections will be on (2) two consecutive weekends in May. A printed ballot, with voting instructions with the nominees' names, shall be made available to each eligible voter at the two (2) election weekend Masses, or by the request of the Parish Office.                     

a. Each eligible voter may vote for the maximum stated number of nominees once only.

b. The election committee is responsible for preparing ballots, conducting the election, and tabulating the votes.

c. In order to be counted, the ballots must be signed for verification.

d. Ballots must be returned by the second Sunday of voting, via the collection basket or delivery to the Parish Office following the last weekend Mass

The persons elected are those nominees receiving the highest number of votes. Any tie will be settled by lottery draw at the next Council meeting. The person not drawn will be the first selection for any opening occurring during the year.
 

a. The election committee shall notify all nominees of the names of those elected, report them to the Council at the next regular meeting, and publish them in the bulletin and the website.  The ballots will be kept intact until after the Parish Council meeting.

b. The newly elected Council members shall attend the June meeting of the Council and assume their duties on the first of July following elections.

 
Amendments and revisions to the by-laws may be made at any regular meeting in the Council by a simple majority vote of the members of the Council.

 

End of the Constitution and by-laws of American Martyrs Parish Pastoral Council.

ADOPTED: July 1, 1975
 
REVISED: November 10, 1985
 
REVISED: June 21, 1994
 
REVISED: November 17, 2022