A pastoral council is a consultative body in dioceses and parishes of the Roman Catholic Church that serves to advise the parish priest or bishop about pastoral decisions. The purpose of a parish pastoral council is to foster pastoral activity within the parish. The council is typically made up of parishioners of all ages, cultures, races, and abilities, representing the diverse community. Catholic pastors consult pastoral councils in order to be better leaders, and bishops and priests ask their councillors to investigate various aspects of the Church.
The establishment and selection of members for a parish pastoral council can vary, but generally, members may be nominated by pastors. The pastor presides over the council, and the members assist in fostering pastoral activity.
Guidelines for parish pastoral councils emphasize the need for active participation by the laity in the life and mission of the Church. The council's role is consultative, providing advice and recommendations to the pastor. The council members study, reflect, and make recommendations to help the parish in its pastoral decisions.
Overall, a parish pastoral council is a collaborative and advisory body that plays a crucial role in assisting the pastor in making pastoral decisions and fostering the spiritual growth of the parish community.