Frank Di Matteo
Every parish is required by Canon Law to have a Finance Council that serves in an advisory and consultative role to the pastor. The Canon makes it clear that the Council does not substitute for the Pastor as the chief administrator and legal representative of the parish’s goods.
A well-structured and effective Finance Council acts as a good steward of the financial resources and temporal goods that have been entrusted to the parish. This in turn builds confidence and trust; and allows the parish to more fully accomplish its mission.
Finance Council Structure
Council members are appointed by the Pastor for a three-year term and may be reappointed for one additional term or removed in this role by the Pastor.
The Council should have an odd number of voting members, and have no fewer than three and no more than seven members.
The Pastor or his designee presides over the Council. Officers of the Council are a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.
Members of the Council should be drawn from the parish community and be chosen based on demonstrable skills or expertise in management and/or finance.
Council members must observe strict confidentiality concerning all matters discussed at Council meetings.
Council members must speak and act, both inside and outside the Council, in a manner supportive of the parish.
Membership should not include any person(s) who may have a conflict of interest in the view of other services, paid or unpaid, rendered to the parish, nor of any person related to a parish employee or Pastor.
Liaisons from the Pastoral Council, Stewardship Council and School Board attend Finance Council meetings, but they are not voting members.
Rules of the Council
- The Council is to assist the Pastor in the administration of the temporal goods of the parish.
- The Council is to assist the Pastor in keeping the financial administration of the parish in harmony with the mission of the parish.
- The relationship between the Pastor and the Council should be one of support and collaboration.
- Although the Pastor is obligated to consult the Council, he is not obligated to follow its recommendations. The Pastor should not, however, act against such advice, especially when there is consensus. But, if the Pastor in good conscience believes that he cannot accept the recommendation of the Council, he should fully and frankly communicate this disagreement to the Council’s members.
- Members of the Finance Council, Stewardship Council and Pastoral Council should work together to insure their particular missions do not overlap or conflict with one another.
Duties of the Finance Council
- Provide advice to the Pastor for commitment of parish resources. The Pastor is obligated to inform the Council of commitments in excess of $20,000.
- Review financial reports.
- Assist with preparing and finalizing the budget.
- Review the Diocesan Annual Report and ensure that a Parish Annual Report is published to the parishioners.
- Serve as a liaison between parishioners and the Pastor.
- Review the findings of the Financial Audit and ensure that recommendations are implemented.
- Assist the Pastor and Business Manager in strategic planning regarding the temporal goods of the parish.
Regular Council meetings are held monthly, except in the months of July and December. Special meetings may be called by the Pastor or Chairperson with the Pastor’s concurrence upon two days’ notice.
The meeting agenda is decided upon in advance by the Pastor and Chairperson, based on an understanding of the ongoing needs and concerns of the Parish. Parishioners may submit items for the agenda, in writing, to the Pastor or Chairperson. Such items should be received in the Parish Office no later than two weeks before the set meeting date.
Advance notice of the time and place of meetings of the Council is published in the weekly bulletin, and all parishioners are entitled and welcome to attend as observers, with the exception of during the time of discussion of confidential items and distribution of confidential documents.