Selecting Councillors

Proposed Plan for Selecting New Parish Pastoral Councillors

St. Mary Magdalen Church, Camarillo, California

October 5, 2005


The following plan for selecting new councillors during a single meeting at St. Mary’s is designed to meet three criteria.  It (1) educates parishioners about the council role, (2) arouses parish interest, and (3) invites people to commit themselves to council participation.

The process outlined here will prepare parishioners by means of bulletin announcements in September as well as October 1-2 presentations by veteran councillors at the end of each weekend Mass.  The October 9 meeting includes a presentation by the pastor, nominations by parishioners who attend the meeting, and a discerning election of new councillors by those present.

Open Parish Meeting at St. Mary Magdalen’s

to Nominate and Elect New Parish Pastoral Council Members

October 9, 2005, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

7:00     Opening prayer (Father Stehly).  Distribution of information handouts.

7:10     Outline of the Role of the Parish Pastoral Council (Father Stehly).

  1. In general, its role is pastoral planning (defined as investigating pastoral matters, reflecting on them, and recommending wise conclusions to the pastor).
  2. In particular, its role is to study the pastoral needs of the parish (in light of the growth of Camarillo and the shortage of clergy) and to recommend how St. Mary’s can be an increasingly effective instrument of the gospel.

7:20     Outline of the Selection Process (Cindy Neff).

  1. Nomination and Selection.  Participants will nominate potential councillors and choose them by a discerning process of election.
  2. Guidelines.  How many councillors are to be chosen, for what term of office, how frequently they will meet, and what are the ideal qualities of a councillor?

7:30     Small Group Discussion (introduced by Father Stehly).  “Talk to one or two people around you about the following question: “What kind of person would I like to see on the council?”

7:40     Answers to questions.   Father Stehly, Bob Riddle, and Lucy Saturnino will invite questions from the audience and answer them.

7:50     Introduction to the Selection Process (Father Stehly).

  1. Outline of the process itself: nomination, discernment, secret ballot election.
  2. Invocation of the Holy Spirit.

7:55     Nominations (conducted by Cecilia Kwolek). 

  1. People are invited to nominate a person and to express the reasons why they feel that the nominee would be a good councillor.
  2. Nominees are invited to state whether they accept or decline the nomination and to give their reasons.
  3. Prayer of thanksgiving for those nominated, especially for those who allow their names to remain in nomination.  (Led by Father Stehly)

8:10     Discernment (Father Stehly). 

  1. Silent Prayer.  Father Stehly invites participants to pray silently, to keep in mind the task of the council and the qualifications of nominees.
  2. Affirmation.  Father Stehly invites participants to come forward and to briefly express words of support for this or that particular nominee.  (E.g., “I heard Bill speak earlier and I was impressed by the way he . . .”).
  3. Conclusion of the period of discernment.

8:40     Secret Ballot (conducted by a past or present councillor).  The names of nominees will be presented to participants (projected on a screen).  Participants vote for seven individuals.

  1. Individuals drop their ballots into a basket on the altar and go to the vestibule for refreshments.
  2. The ballots are counted by Celia Kwolek, Bob Riddle and Lucy Saturnino.  The top seven vote-getters are elected to the council.  If candidates 6 and 7 are tied, there will be an immediate run-off election.
  3. After the ballots are counted, people return to their seats.  Father Stehly announces the new council members.

8:55     Prayer of Thanksgiving and Adjourn.