“Making Parish Councils Pastoral” compares what experts recommend for councils with what the church teaches.

Comment by Charles E. Zech

Director, Villanova University Center for the Study of Church Management

With the publication of Making Pastoral Councils PASTORAL, Mark F. Fischer has secured his legacy as the preeminent authority on parish pastoral councils of his generation. Fischer has written a book that, while supported by first-rate scholarship, is easily readable and practical. By tracing the origins of pastoral councils, Fischer is able to answer the question on the mind of many parishioners (and pastoral council members): what are pastoral councils supposed to do? The answer: they serve the apostolate of the pastor, helping the pastor to exercise the ministry of parish leadership. Every Catholic parish, even those with long-established parish pastoral councils, will find ideas in this book that will enhance their pastoral council’s effectiveness and enrich their parish.


Review by Ricardo E Bass

A priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Father Ricardo Bass reviewed Making Parish Councils Pastoral in The Jurist: Studies in Church Law and Ministry 72:1 (2012): 299-300.


Comment by Patricia Sullivan Vanni

Project Director, Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership

This book will be profoundly relevant to priest pastors, parish life coordinators, parish councillors, and anyone interested in effective pastoral leadership. Practical, clear, and easy to understand, Making Parish Councils PASTORAL offers wisdom on the role, tasks, and qualities of council members, and the deliberative and consultative contributions they make to parish health through their participation in the pastor’s leadership.  In a time where parishes are being structured in novel and sometimes challenging ways, Fischer’s latest contribution is invaluable, empowering even more meaningful participation in by the faithful in the life of the Church.


Comment by Robert Miller

Director, Office of Research and Planning, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Mark Fischer has an easy writing style that makes this book dealing with the rationale and technical origins of lay consultative bodies in Catholic parishes an easy and enjoyable read. He mixes stories of parish experiences that help orient the reader with several important documents from the 2nd Vatican Council to establish the ‘wisdom’ and the ‘knowledge’ that underpins the use of these important consultative bodies in the Catholic Church in the U.S. today. Well researched and well documented, this is a must read for anyone who is involved in leadership in these councils including pastors, parish staff, lay leaders or just interested lay parishioners.


Comment by Sr. Antoine Lawlor, IHM

Director of Pastoral Priorities, Diocese of Camden

I spent some Advent time reading your latest book on Pastoral Councils.  Kudos to you!   I especially liked the “case study” style of telling about parishes who demonstrate the 3 tasks of councils.  Since I spend a lot of time doing information nights for parish councils, this book confirms what I believe is the heart of the matter!  Thanks for putting this in print – I will be advertising as I teach!  Blessings on you, your family, and your ministry in 2011!

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