As chair of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Adam Bowers envisions a significant role for the laity with their pastors in shared responsibility and accountability through developing strong parish pastoral councils.
“The essence of the idea is that all of us are being called by the Church to holiness,” says Adam, who has served on the council since 2016 and is a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Gridley for the past 12 years. “As laity, we have a role to play in the Church in pursuit of her mission and we understand very well as Catholics that we belong to a hierarchical structure beginning from the time of the disciples.”
“The laity bring to the table their own backgrounds and experience and may have an edge on knowledge in some areas, offering valuable collaboration with clergy in the making of decisions, and determining the actions and programs of each parish,” adds Adam, who is a candidate for the permanent diaconate in the diocese.
“Just as Bishop Jaime Soto values the Diocesan Pastoral Council because of the consultation and collaboration it affords him, there is a vision of that model being applied consistently in parishes, so that pastors can get advice, collaboration and support from the pastoral council, who are leaders of their respective communities.”
Adam moderated the first-ever “Come to the Table” virtual convocation of parish pastoral councils on April 17, focusing on co-responsibility, accountability and building strong councils. Bishop Soto convened pastors, parochial administrators and their parish pastoral council members. Ninety-three out of 102 parishes in the diocese participated, with 443 participants, including priests, deacons and laity.
Bishop Soto called the convocation to bring together the leadership of the parishes in the diocese in order to promote a greater communion of life in the local church. The convocation, he said, “begins the journey toward a more dynamic and intentional conversation and cooperation among clergy and laity so that we can deepen our communion with the Lord Jesus.”
During the convocation, Bishop Soto offered reflections on his new pastoral letter, “Call to Holiness.” Kathy Conner, then-Chancellor of the Diocese, presented a session on “How to Build a Strong and Effective Parish Pastoral Council.” Participants joined in with various questions and the bishop’s concluding remarks addressed “the path forward….”
The above comes from an Aug. 26 story in the Catholic Herald.