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Parish Council and Constitution

Since Vatican II, priests and people have been encouraged to work together in a "common effort to attain fullness in unity". St Mary's Parish Council was formed in 2005 to take on the day-to-day management of the Parish in the absence (at the time) of a resident Parish Priest, and comprises a group of people who represent the active secular and spiritual groups working in the parish. The Parish Council's role today is to support the Parish Priest in the running of the Parish - it acts as a coordinating body for the parish groups, and is a central point through which information about the running of the parish can be fed in and out, thus providing recognised channels of communication.

Membership of the Parish Council is open to any Parishioner over 16 years of age and elections are held on an annual basis. Parishioners are elected to the positions of Chairman, vice-Chairman and Secretary, with the Treasurer being appointed directly by the Parish Priest to ensure an independence in the financial management of the Parish.

Individual Council members have responsibilities for coordination of and liaison with the various parish groups. Parishioners are encouraged to raise any topics that concern them for discussion at each Parish Council meeting. The Parish Council therefore creates a platform for discussions, a channel through which individuals may air their views and so the Parish Priest is helped and supported in making decisions that are appropriate for the Parish community.

The Parish Council meets in the Parish Hall on a monthly basis, with ad hoc meetings of sub-groups as required. 

The current Parish Council members are as follows:

Chairman:            Michael Thompson 

Vice-chairman:   Martin Ainsworth  

Members:            Mary Earnshaw

                              Nick Fish (Finance)                 

                              Gerard Fishwick (Deacon)            

                              Jim Hill          

                              Peter Kitching    

                              Jacqui O'Donnell                

                              Tom Parker (Secretary)            

                              Michael Thompson        

                              Martin Ainsworth              

                              Sharon Beirne        


Parish Priest:       Fr Gerry McCusker



St Mary’s Euxton – Parish Council  Constitution


The Council exists to work with and support the Parish Priest (or Parish Administrator) and assistant Priests or Deacons working in the Parish in all aspects of the running of the Parish in order that the Parish Priest may more effectively minister to the spiritual needs of the Parish.


The aims of the Council reflect and follow those of the Archdiocese and in particular are centred around the following:

  • Promoting the presence of Christ throughout the local community and in the wider world

  • Providing opportunities for people of the Parish to grow in faith and live their lives by following true Gospel values

  • Actively encouraging the young people of the Parish to participate in all aspects of Parish life

  • Providing spiritual and material help to all persons who are vulnerable or in need

  • Fostering relationships with other faiths and communities


These aims are pursued and fulfilled through the Mass, the Sacraments and other liturgical activities and with the support, co-operation and guidance of other groups and individuals from the Parish and the wider community as appropriate.



The Council

  1. Membership of the Council is open to all persons aged 16 and over who participate in the liturgical life of the Parish – defined as “eligible persons”

  2. The Council shall consist of at least 12 eligible persons, “members”, to be nominated for membership by themselves, or by other eligible persons, and appointed by the Parish Priest

  3. In the event that there are more nominations for places on the Council than actual places available then a secret ballot shall be held at which all eligible persons shall have a vote. Such election process to be overseen by 2 eligible persons who are not standing for election

  4. Vacancies occurring on the Council during the course of a year shall be filled by the nomination of other eligible persons. In the event that there are more nominations for places than actual places available the process detailed in paragraph c) above shall apply

  5. Members will normally serve a 2 year term of office (except in the inaugural 2 year term following the Council’s formation when half the members shall retire at the end of the second year with the remaining members retiring at the end of the third year). Thereafter, each year, half the members may seek re-election, subject to paragraph f) below

  6. Retiring members having been re-elected for a further term of office must retire following the end of their second term of office and shall not be eligible for re-election for a further 2 years, at which point, for re-election purposes, they will be considered as new members of the Council

  7. The Parish Priest will automatically be an “ex-officio” member of the Council and may veto decisions taken by the Council if he considers such decisions to be inappropriate or damaging to the wellbeing of the Parish or the Catholic Church. The Deacon is also an “ex-officio” member of the Council.

  8. The following officers will be appointed from members of the Council with the agreement of the Parish Priest:

    • Chairperson

    • Vice Chairperson

    • Secretary


Status and Responsibilities

  1. All Parish property and Parish finances are subject to Church Law (Canon Law) and Civil Law, in particular, but not exclusively, Charities Act 1992 & 1993 and any subsequent amendments or re-enactments thereto.

  2. Under Canon Law the Parish Priest is responsible for all the temporal goods of the Parish (canon 532) subject to limits set by the Archbishop (canon 1276) with all property and assets being vested in Liverpool Archdiocesan Trustees Incorporated “the Trustees”, a charity duly registered with the Charity Commission under number 232709.

  3. In Civil Law the Parish Priest is the duly appointed agent of the Trustees.

  4. All money and other assets appertaining to the Parish are beneficially owned by the Trustees and shall be used only in pursuance of the charitable aims and objectives set out in the Archdiocesan Trust Deed (as detailed in the Parish Administration Manual).

  5. No property shall be bought, sold or substantially altered without the written permission of the Trustees, such permission being sought via the Parish Priest.

  6. All expenditure over £5,000 requires prior approval of the Trustees obtained via the Parish Priest.



Procedural Matters

  1. Meetings are normally held monthly with a minimum of 10 meetings per year.

  2. A quorum for a meeting is 6 members.

  3. An emergency meeting may be called by the Parish Priest, the Chairperson or any 3 other members

  4. All meetings shall begin with a short prayer.

  5. Agendas shall be prepared and circulated to all members prior to the appropriate meeting. Minutes are agreed at the subsequent meeting and should be formally minuted as so. The Minute Book should be available as required to the Parish Priest and the Archbishop or his nominees if required.

  6. All resolutions are to be passed by a simple majority vote of those present at the meeting. Each attending member is allowed one vote, except for the Chairperson who has a casting vote to be used in the event of a tie. Voting by proxy is not allowed.

  7. Any member who fails to attend 4 consecutive meetings without good cause or fails to send the appropriate apology is deemed to have resigned.

  8. Urgent matters may be decided by the Chairperson, subject to the Chairperson taking reasonable steps to consult with other members. Such decisions to be ratified at the next full Council meeting.

  9. A proposal or resolution sent in writing to the Secretary by a representative of any known group or committee acting within the Parish, or from any eligible person, should, subject to being received by the Secretary 7 days prior to the next meeting, be considered by the Council at the next available meeting. If the proposal or resolution is received less than 7 days prior to the next meeting then the matter will be placed on the agenda for the following meeting. Any decision or action taken should be conveyed in writing to the person or persons making such proposal or resolution. 



Co-option of Additional Members

  1. The Council shall be permitted to co-opt additional members for their expertise, particular skills or knowledge or as representatives of other Parish groups or committees.

  2. Co-opted members shall not have a vote and may, at the Chairperson’s discretion, be excluded from part or all of any meeting.



Finance and other Groups/Committees

  1. A Parish Finance Committee shall be appointed by the Parish Priest in consultation with the Parish Council with its own Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. The Treasurer shall act as Treasurer to the Parish and shall be an ex-officio member of the Parish Council.

  2. Other Groups or committees shall be appointed as required to provide services, guidance or to co-ordinate the activities of others.



Formal Constitution

This constitution shall be adopted by the Council if approved by not less than a two-thirds majority of eligible persons present and voting at a meeting of the Parish convened for that purpose. Subsequent minor amendments to the Constitution may be made by the Council as required. Major amendments to the Constitution will need the approval of not less than a two-thirds majority of eligible persons present and voting at a meeting of the Parish convened for that purpose.  



General Meetings

  1. An Annual General Meeting, to review the work of the Council and activities of the Parish, shall take place early in each year. Fourteen days notice shall be given to the Parish of this event, such notice to provide venue, date and time details and to be placed in the Parish Newsletter, on the notice board in the Church and elsewhere as considered appropriate.

  2. A Special General Meeting may be convened by the Council, or the Parish Priest, to discuss any matter considered to be of sufficient importance to warrant the calling of such a meeting. The required terms of notice shall be given as detailed in paragraph 1) above.

Revised Oct  2011

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