Cluster Pastoral Committee

The committee shall be formed when the Episcopal Vicar determines that the parishes are ready to begin Cluster Pastoral Planning. The committee is responsible for developing a recommended Cluster Pastoral Plan. Like the Parish Pastoral Councils, the committee must be guided by prayer, education, and reflection at every meeting.

1. Membership qualities. The committee consists of the Episcopal Vicar, along with the pastor and two representatives (and two alternates) from the Parish Pastoral Council of each of the parishes in the cluster.

Each person selected to be a representative to the committee shall:

  1. be a member with some experience (present or past) on the Parish Pastoral Council of the parish which they represent. Ordinarily, each member should have a working knowledge of the parish;
  2. be able to communicate to the members of the Parish Pastoral Council the suggestions of the committee and vice versa;
  3. have a positive attitude toward pastoral planning, a commitment to fostering the good of the whole cluster and the flexibility to assist in achieving consensus;
  4. have a vision of Church broader than her or his own parish;
  5. be willing to make a commitment to attend all the meetings of the committee;
  6. be willing to maintain confidentiality, when required;
  7. possess a sense of unity which unites parishioners with their pastor and the Archbishop.

In addition, it would be helpful if the representatives possess familiarity with the Vision 2000 Strategic Planning Process in the Archdiocese, a willingness to enter into and/or lead the committee in prayerful reflection at its meetings, and have a general contemporary knowledge of Church teaching.

Members identified to serve on the committee will normally continue to serve until the conclusion of the Cluster Pastoral Planning process even if their term on the Parish Pastoral Council expires during that time. In such cases, they should be invited to the Parish Pastoral Council meetings when issues of Cluster Pastoral Planning are discussed.

2. Selection and Size of the Committee. The Pastor of each parish shall nominate four members from the Parish Pastoral Council (past or present). The members of the Parish Pastoral Council shall then select from among these nominees two representatives to serve on the committee and two alternates (alternates are encouraged to attend meetings of the committee). Vacancies resulting from the loss of a parish representative will be filled according to this same process.

Committee Membership Roles

1. Episcopal Vicar. The Episcopal Vicar will consult with the Pastors of the parishes in the cluster to consider the readiness of the parishes in the cluster to begin Cluster Pastoral Planning, determine specific time schedules, meeting locations and other logistical concerns, identify the major opportunities and problems that could be encountered in the process, and clarify the specific role of the pastor in every stage of the Cluster Pastoral Planning Process.

After consultation with the committee, the Episcopal Vicar will determine the specific issues that must be addressed by the plan. The Episcopal Vicar may also consult appropriate Archdiocesan staff and others as necessary.

The committee shall be administered by the Episcopal Vicar, who shall convene the meetings, approve agendas, and review both the minutes and the summary communications of each meeting. The Episcopal Vicar shall appoint a Committee Coordinator who will chair the meetings (cf. “a” below), a Secretary (cf. “b” below) and a Communications Liaison Person (cf. “c” below).

The Committee Coordinator, in consultation with the Episcopal Vicar and the committee, may form ad hoc subcommittees made up of other individuals representing the parishes. Such individuals may include Pastoral Associates, Principals of the parish schools, Directors of Religious education, Parish Social Workers, Parish Directors, Chairpersons of Liturgy Committees, etc. This arrangement allows for participation by deacons, religious, priests or laity who hold such positions in the parish.

Without prejudice to the responsibility of the committee to achieve a consensus on its recommendations, the Episcopal Vicar always may call special meetings of some or all of the cluster’s pastors as spiritual leaders in their respective parishes to promote the spiritual welfare of the cluster. During Cluster Pastoral Planning such gatherings of the pastors may wish to consider, for example, evaluating the progress of the committee(s), reviewing special difficulties, and receiving suggestions to improve the work of that cluster’s committee(s).

The Episcopal Vicar will also review the plan to insure that the process was faithfully followed and to exercise his own pastoral discretion as a Episcopal Vicar in shaping the final product. He will either return it to the committee with his comments for further development or recommend it to the Archbishop for his approval. The Episcopal Vicar will ask the Dean for periodic progress reports on the cluster.

2. Pastors. The pastors have an essential role to assist the Archbishop through the Episcopal Vicar in leading the people of the parishes through the pastoral planning process in their cluster. The Episcopal Vicar, as leader of the Cluster Pastoral Planning Process, will consult with the pastors in the cluster to:

  1. consider the readiness of the parishes in the cluster to begin Cluster Pastoral Planning;
  2. determine specific time schedules, meeting locations and other logistical concerns;
  3. identify the major opportunities and problems that could be encountered in the process;
  4. clarify the specific role of the pastor in every stage of the Cluster Pastoral Planning process;
  5. assess the effectiveness of the committee in accomplishing its work.

3. The Parish Representatives. While some members of the Cluster Pastoral Planning Committee contribute designated services (such as the recording of meeting minutes) over and above their regular service on the committee, it is the regular work of every member of the committee to assist the Episcopal Vicar in devising a plan for the future of the Church’s work in that cluster.

  1. The Committee Coordinator. A Committee Coordinator will be appointed by the Episcopal Vicar from among the committee members. The Committee Coordinator assists the Episcopal Vicar in the ordinary business of the committee and chairs the meetings.
  2. The Committee Secretary. A secretary, who shall be a member of the committee, will be appointed by the Committee Coordinator to keep summary Minutes of each meeting. These minutes should be printed and distributed prior to the next meeting.
  3. The Communications Liaison Person. A communications liaison person, who need not be a member of the committee, shall draw upon the minutes and reports of the committee in order to draft regular communiques. These communications reports are intended to make information available uniformly to the Parish Pastoral Councils of the cluster and, through the Councils, to parishioners.

4. The Facilitator. A qualified facilitator, approved by the Episcopal Vicar in consultation with the committee, will be responsible for assisting the committee to complete its work. The facilitator is not a member of the committee. The Director of Pastoral Planning will serve as staff to the Episcopal Vicar and be responsible for assisting the CPPC to complete its work.