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Parish Pastoral Council

The Parish Pastoral Council is a group of committed people of God who meet every month with the priests to investigate pastoral matters, reflect on them thoroughly and recommend practical conclusions. 

The monthly meetings are marked by prayer and scripture and openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The process of decision-making has to reflect this faith dimension.  In a Parish Pastoral Council it is
not “my will against yours”, but each of us prayerfully seeking the will of God.  It takes time and practice. 

In this consultative body decisions are taken by consensus.

Council members are working in different areas such as: Education, All Saints’ Pastoral Response to drugs and alcohol, and the GIFT programme for those who have been Confirmed, arranging the Parish Mission, Inter-Church dialogue and the Cell Groups.  


Ballymena Parish Pastoral Council came about as a result of the work of a core group of parishioners coming together in 1998.  The primary function of this group was to work towards the formation of a pastoral council, facilitating the election of and the raison d’etre of such a council.

Elections were held and the council formed to coincide with Jubilee Year 2000.  The group was comprised of sixteen parishioners alongside the priests of the parish.  The Council adopted the constitution as formulated by the initial core group; electing a chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary. 

The Parish Priest of the time,  Monsignor Sean Connolly, was the President of the Council.  The members were to be representative of all areas of the parish.

The function of the Parish Pastoral Council is to deal with the mission of the Church's long-range and short-range goals and objectives and to design those procedures and processes by which the pastoral work of the Church is achieved.

In accordance with current norms, the Council shall have a consultative role only.  Through its deliberations, insights, expertise and considered advice, it will help the Priests with the identification, implementation and evaluation of pastoral initiatives and policies best suited to the spread of the gospel in the parish.

The council meets one night per month with the exception of the summer months.  The meetings take the form of a period of reflection followed by discussion centred on the gospel of the week.  This is followed by a discussion on issues currently of importance to members and the parishioners whom they represent.  Strategies and plans for action may evolve as necessary.  Members of the Parish Pastoral Council serve a three year term but can be re-elected.  Six members will retire and six members will stay on to support the six newly elected members.

The first council members were:

Chairperson:            Cliff McKenna
Vice Chairperson:    Liam Corey
Secretary:                 Bernie Fox

The Committee Members were:

Joe O'Prey, Clare Barr, Norman Warren, Angela Fairburn, Neal Doherty (Snr), Gerald Casey, John Downey, Mary Waide, Pat McGroggan, Pat Neeson, Denise Church, Cecilia Connolly, PJ McAvoy


Nominations for new members were sought in November 2002. 

Chairperson:                 Mary Waide
Vice-Chairperson:        Norman Warren
Secretary:                     Roisin O’Donnell       
Assistant Secretary:      Bernadette Fox

The Committee members were:

Clare Barr, Maire Burke, Liam McAuley, Frank Magee, Neal Doherty (Jnr), Collette Walsh, PJ McAvoy, Cliff McKenna, Pat McGroggan, Winifred McAuley and John Graham.



The Council had a five year plan.  Annual Reports of their work were prepared and presented to the parishioners.

The Parish Council members in November 2005 were:

Chairperson:                John Stuart
Vice-Chairperson:       Sadie Marron
Secretary                    Roisin O'Donnell
Assistant Secretary:    Colette Walsh

Committee members are: 

Arthur Byrne, Marie Burke, Liam McAuley, Frank Magee, Neal Doherty (Jnr), John Graham, Dominic McAleer, PJ McAvoy, Catherine McParland,
Grainne Walsh, Catherine Macauley and Winifred Macauley.



Some of the council members

In addition to general pastoral work, the Parish Pastoral Council has spent the past term of office working on the following key areas of parish community development:

Improving communication
Parish Centre
How to increase active participation in parish life

A copy of the Annual Report is available at each Church.

Some members of the council were due to retire in December 2005.  Elections were held on 3 and 4 December 2005.

As a result of the voting the following were elected  - Neal Doherty (Snr), Martin Diamond, Michael Looney, Teresa O'Donnell, Joe O'Prey and Catherine Stewart. 

They will replace Marie Burke, Neal Doherty (Jnr), Johnny Graham, Frank Magee, John Stuart and Colette Walsh who have served for three years.


This is the Parish Council of 2008


Back row: Neal Doherty, Eileen Kearney, Rosemary Quinn, Francis Loughran, Eugene Agnew, Martin Diamond, Michael Looney, Joe O'Prey
Front row:  Monsignor Connolly, Margaret Dempster, Brenda Crill, Roisin Gilpin, Angela Mulligan, Paul McHugh
Absent from photo: Teresa O'Donnell, Kieran Killough, Archdeacon Donnelly, Fr Symonds and
Fr Burns 


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