Parish Pastoral Council

In 1984, the latest revised Code of Canon Law was published. In Canon 536, the code recommended (but did not mandate) "pastoral" councils at the parish level.  The idea of the "pastoral" council dates back to the 1965 Vatican II Decree on Bishops which recommended "pastoral" councils at the diocesan level.

Canon 536 applied the "pastoral" council idea to parishes. According to the decree, the "pastoral" council has a threefold purpose. It (1) investigates pastoral matters, (2) ponders or reflects on them, and (3) reaches conclusions, which are then recommended to the pastor. In short, the pastoral council’s role is to help in fostering parish activity
It is not uncommon to find that Pastoral councils have been wrongly understood to be bureaucratic decision making bodies independent of the pastor. Pastoral councils oversee parish matters such as the annual plan, budget, capital improvements … But councils do not make decisions independently of the pastor and have a consultative vote only.  On the other hand however, Pastors are strongly urged to establish these councils and consult them to achieve the threefold purpose — namely, the task of investigating, reflecting, and reaching conclusions to recommend to the pastor. 

Are you truly interested in the spiritual welfare of our parish family? Come to the parish council. Be part of the investigation process of the parish. Reflect and share your thoughts and concerns with the brothers & sisters of the parish. Together, let us find the way forward.

Parish Finance Council

Church Law ( Canon 1280 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law ) and diocesan norms recognize the tremendous responsibility given to pastors in the realm of parish finances. Accordingly every parish is required to have a parish finance council. The pastor is responsible for assembling the parish finance council.

The parish finance council is a consultative body of lay persons mandated by Canon law to advise the Pastor in matters pertaining to the financial affairs of the Parish. The membership of this advisory body should include individuals skilled in finance, civil law, construction/engineering or business.

Every parish finance council must have at least three members who shall convene at least four times a year.

The pastor is ultimately responsible for all parish finances. He has authority from the Bishop and the universal law of the Church to decide and act on behalf of the Parish (Canon 532). The decisions and recommendations of the council are valid only when accepted by the Pastor. It is important, therefore, that the Pastor be central to the deliberations and the functioning of the Parish Finance Council. The relationship between the pastor and Council is one of support and mutual cooperation.


St. Patrick
Saint Patrick
Our Patron Saint


Our Lady of Mercy
Sister Parish:
Our Lady of Mercy Church
77 America Street
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 723-7784)


The Vatican Diocese of Charleston Conference of Catholic BishopsNational Council of Catholic WomenKnights of Peter ClaverKnights of Columbus
134 St. Philip Street, Charleston, SC 29403 Phone: 843. 723.6066 Email: stpat@bellsouth.net