Parish Pastoral Councils

The Limerick Diocese has a long history of encouraging shared responsibility and collaboration.  This has found expression in a variety of pastoral groups in parish and pastoral area teams. Parishes have long been expected to develop parish pastoral councils, and the diocesan pastoral centre has always had staff dedicated to support local clergy and parishioners in this and other parish ministry development.


In September 2015, this diocese agreed statutes (local law) for parish pastoral councils.  The premise of these statutes is stated as:  "The trust that comes with love for one another, opening us to the presence of Jesus among us, is the premise of this statute."

To read a copy of the PPC statutes - click HERE

To download the 2015 PPC workbook with statutes, resources and other information - click HERE

For questions, comments etc please email or call 061 400133



For more information please select from below:


"Each of these is about much more than simply doing things. It is about integrating faith and life, about creating a sense of belonging. Pragmatic needs have created some urgency about furthering collaboration, but collaboration does not rest on pragmatic motives. It lies at the very heart of our faith and draws deeply on our understanding of the Trinity and our desire to live in the light of the Gospel"

"How can we know the way", Bishop Donal Murray, June 2002


Our Vision


Parish Pastoral Leadership

Pastoral leadership is not about roles, its about relationship.

Speaking to parishioners in Rome in 2009, Pope Benedict said  "... it is necessary to improve pastoral structures in such a way that the co-responsibility of all the members of the People of God in their entirety is gradually promoted ... This demands a change in mindset, particularly concerning lay people. They must no longer be viewed as "collaborators" of the clergy but truly recognized as "co-responsible", for the Church's being and action..."

At the same time, Bishop Murray in his 2009 Lenten Pastoral 'United in Hope' was reminding us that "The parish is not just the priests; it is not just the people who have special roles in the liturgy or in the schools or in Parish Pastoral Councils. All of these are an important part of the richness of parish life, but the parish needs every one of its members and all of their gifts. A vibrant parish is one where all the parishioners understand that the life of each one contributes to the well being of the parish."

Parish Pastoral Councils 

The Limerick Diocese is committed to the vision of Parish Pastoral Council laid out in the booklet of the Irish Bishops Conference, 2007: "PPCs: A Framework for developing diocesan norms and parish guidelines".

"These (parish pastoral councils) are intended to give visible, local expression to the Church as a living and welcoming community, founded on the relationship of each Christian with Christ and the love that all Christians are called to share with one another. The parish pastoral council is the primary means by which the parish community can review and plan for its mission to witness to the Gospel of Christ and to promote the reign of God (Bishop Jim Moriarity, Oct 2007, in "Parish Pastoral Councils: A framework...")


Parish Pastoral Councils national guidlines: Providing confidence & clarity for all involved.

In 2007, Parish Pastoral Councils in Limerick were offered an opportunity to reflect on the new national guidelines. Each parish received 2 copies of the guidelines, a booklet with details of a reflection process, and an invitation to join Bishop Murray for a Pentecost liturgy for Parish Pastoral Council members

The booklet for parish pastoral councils is available HERE

A powerpoint presentation of the parish images is available HERE

Bishop Murrays homily from that Pentecost liturgy is available HERE


In 2011, these Guidelines were revised and again adopted by this Diocese as our norms for Parish Pastoral Councils in Limerick diocese. The new title of the guidelines is 'Living Communion', published by Veritas Publications.


Setting up a New Parish Pastoral Council


Most parishes in the Limerick diocese have established a Parish Pastoral Council or core group. Parishes who wish to establish a new Parish Pastoral Council, (or to re-establish one after a break),  usually spend some time preparing the whole parish for this development. This makes it easier for parishioners to participate and to support the new Parish Pastoral Council.  Please feel welcome to contact the Pastoral development team at the Pastoral centre to discuss how we might work together.

"It is almost twenty five years since the Irish Bishops first called for the development of parish pastoral councils .... this call has been repeated many times and at various levels within the Catholic Church in Ireland. In parish communities throughout the country, the life of faith, liturgy and service is being enriched through the work of the parish pastoral council." From "Parish Pastoral Councils: A framework...", 2007

The following may be of support to you as you consider forming a parish pastoral council in your parish:


Supporting Existing Parish Pastoral Councils.

All Parish Pastoral Councils start out with great plans and energy. Life draws deeply on that energy, changes our plans and surprises us with joy and with challenges we never expected! For a Parish Pastoral Council to remain effective, it needs to be brave enough to regularly re-check its progress and learn from the experience!

The Pastoral Development team offers support and facilitation for  Parish Pastoral Councils on request. Workshops can be tailored to suit the time and needs of each parish.

Some examples of our work to date with parish pastoral councils include:

  • An annual review of P.P.C.

Effective work groups have agreed-upon aims and objectives, which form the basis of an annual work-plan.  An annual review is a simple way for any work group to check what has been happening, to consider this in the light of all the plans made last year, and to learn and plan ahead based on this.

  • A reflection evening

A parish pastoral council may have originally trained together, but as membership changes and tasks increase; it can sometimes be challenging to remember WHY we are working together. Most parish pastoral councils will identify areas that they would like to learn more about and invite a speaker or facilitator to lead them in an evenings learning on the theme. This has two results (i) the theme itself - e.g. what is a parish pastoral council, youth ministry, involving more parishioners, praying together as a group, etc., and (ii) bonding the group and improving dialogue and participation within the group itself.

  • Themed training

For example: Planning and chairing pastoral meetings, Making challenging decisions together, Prayer and pastoral leadership, etc. This is often offered to a group of PPCs from a pastoral area, or at the Pastoral Centre.

Working with your parish pastoral council.

Fr Noel & Noirin would be happy to chat with you about facilitating, training or input. Please contact us at the Pastoral Centre to talk about your specific parish needs. Once you know what you want, we can support you in achieving that goal.

This year, how can we support your parish pastoral council? Perhaps we can work with you:

  • to offer input & discussion on a theme chosen by you?
  • to facilitate a PPC review?
  • to facilitate a planning session - for next years work or for a specific project?
  • to lead a reflection/prayer session for members?
  • or something completely different that support your work as a PPC?


A Parish Pastoral Council at Prayer

"How can we follow someone whom we will not speak about together?!?"

Limerick P.P.C. member, 2009

At the heart of any pastoral group must be its prayerful relationship with God. Without recognition of Jesus Christ at our centre, how can we discern for the Body of Christ in this local parish? If we are not about Christs work, then why are we gathered in the name of a Parish Pastoral Council?

We strongly encourage that all members of the group take equal turns in leading that prayer so that the gifts and needs of the whole group are reflected. While this may be nervewracking for some initially, it keeps prayer central and it does get easier with practise!

Many Parish Pastoral Councils have purchased one of the many prayer books for PPCs currently on sale, so that a member can take it home between meetings and choose appropriate prayers from it, if they wish.  (E.g. 'Prayers for Parish groups', 'Prayer reflections for group meetings' etc – see Columba Press or Veritas publishers)

THESE monthly reflections, prepared for parish liturgy groups,  may also be of support.

HERE is a September prayer resource for 2011

'Let us be under no illusion that unless we follow this spiritual path, external structures of communion will serve little purpose. They would be mechanisms without a soul, 'masks of communion rather than its  meaningful expression and growth'   Pope John Paul II,  Novo Millennio Ineunte 43 January, 2001