Pastoral Council provides input and advice to Bishop Folda

by Paul Braun | New Earth

Pastoral

Bishop Folda chairs a recent meeting of the Pastoral Council. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

The task of shepherding a diocese can be a daunting one, and Bishop Folda must make important decisions on a daily basis that affect the well-being, as well as the spiritual needs, of the faithful that make up the Fargo Diocese. Many times when making these important decisions, the Bishop will call on various people and groups to offer him advice and counsel. An important role in that process lies with the Fargo Diocesan Pastoral Council.

According to the statutes that govern the council and its formation, “The Fargo Diocesan Pastoral Council is a consultative body at the assistance of the Bishop. Its members assist the Bishop by advising him, presenting his questions to the faithful whom they represent, and assisting in research and coordinating diocesan programs and activities as he directs. They also assist the faithful of the diocese by presenting their concerns and responses to the Bishop’s pastoral initiatives back to him. In this way, the Diocesan Pastoral Council shall serve as a structure for constructive dialogue. The Diocesan Pastoral Council shall be a visible source of unity in the diocese.”

The Pastoral Council derives its authority from Canon Law. It is composed of the Bishop of the Diocese of Fargo, who serves as the President of the Council, the Vicar General, and the Chancellor. The department heads for Catholic Education and Formation, Finance and Administration, and Catholic Charities, ND and the editor of New Earth are ex-officio members, or members who serve due to the office they hold within the diocese.

The rest of the council is made up of one lay representative from each deanery, one priest representative for each of the four pairs of deaneries, two representatives from the Permanent Diaconate, serving an urban and a rural area, one religious representative from each motherhouse within the Diocese of Fargo, and any additional lay representatives appointed “at large” as needed by the Bishop. These members are nominated through their local deaneries, and each serves a three-year term.

The Pastoral Council is charged with meeting at least once per year, but a minimum of two meetings per year are scheduled, one in the spring and one in the fall. The council’s function, under the authority of the Bishop, is to study and weigh those matters that concern the pastoral works in the diocese, and to propose practical conclusions concerning them.

“The members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council are living the faith daily in their parishes and communities, so they bring a very important perspective to our discussions,” said Bishop Folda. “It’s always a joy to gather with representatives from throughout our Diocese, and I’m very grateful for their honest input on important issues that face the Church.”