The 13 members of the Archdiocesan Lay Pastoral Council (APC), appointed by Archbishop Lori during the summer of 2019, include 10 members representing the regional areas of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as well as three at-large members representing the African American, Latino and Young Adult communities respectively.
The Council welcomes input from the community, and encourages parishioners and others to share their interests and concerns by clicking HERE. (To see a list of parishes organized by vicariate and region, click HERE.) While it is not possible to respond personally to each comment, all input will be shared with the members for their consideration. From time to time, the Council will proactively solicit input on various issues as well.
Meeting Schedule and Notes
The 13 members of the new Archdiocesan Pastoral Council met for the first time for an orientation retreat in September, 2019. They have held two in-person meetings since then in November 2019 (see notes here) and February 2020 (see notes here) and convened by conference call in January 2020 (see notes here). The next meeting of the Council is scheduled for June 13, 2020.
Parishioners throughout the Archdiocese interested in serving on the APC were encouraged through bulletin notices, information in the Catholic Review and other avenues to submit applications online or by mail to the Archdiocese. The pastors representing the 10 regions of the Archdiocese, along with two lay parishioners from the region, reviewed local applications and submitted recommended candidates to the Archdiocese. At-large applications were reviewed by appropriate archdiocesan staff. Recommended candidates were interviewed by phone by the regional vicars and archdiocesan staff who forwarded their final recommendations to the Archbishop for his review and approval.
Archdiocesan Lay Pastoral Council Responsibilities
Archdiocesan Lay Pastoral Council Outline
“Today more than ever we need men and women who, on the basis of their experience of accompanying others, are familiar with processes which call for prudence, understanding, patience and docility to the Spirit. […] We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders. Only through such respectful and compassionate listening can we enter on the paths of true growth and awaken a yearning for the Christian ideal: the desire to respond fully to God’s love and to bring to fruition what he has sown in our lives.”
Evangelii Gaudium, 171
- Through prayerful discernment open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, facilitate and strengthen dialogue between the Archbishop and the faithful of the Archdiocese in all its diversity
- Provide honest and constructive counsel to the Archbishop in his role as shepherd of the faithful and evangelizer of those alienated from the Church
- In consultation with the Archbishop and diocesan leaders as appropriate, gather information, ponder, and propose practical conclusions regarding major pastoral initiatives of the Archdiocese
- Serve as a forum for discussion of areas of interest raised by the laity
Member Qualifications/Responsibilities (*See accompanying job description/application form)
- Practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church who is actively involved in his or her parish community
- Acceptance of Church teaching and experience in prayerful discernment
- Ability to communicate collaboratively in a large group setting
- Familiarity with the interests and concerns of the local, archdiocesan and global Church
Three-year nonrenewable terms; initial members will be grouped by one, two, or three year terms to rotate membership gradually and will number 13. Members should include at least six women and should reflect the diversity of the Archdiocese.
- The Archbishop serves as chair; regional vicars as ex officio
- One lay representative from each of the 10 regions represented on the Presbyteral Council, selected through the following process:
- Nominees submit an application form, resume and letter of recommendation from their pastor for consideration through an online link posted by all parishes in each region (hosted by the Archdiocese)
- The Presbyteral Council regional representative, along with two representatives of local parishes selected by the Presbyteral Council rep (one male, one female from two separate parishes other than the parish of the Presbyteral Council rep) submit two names for consideration to the regional vicar
- The regional vicar submits a recommended candidate to the Archbishop for his approval
- One lay representative of the African American community, selected in consultation with the Urban Vicar and the Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries
- One lay representative of the Latino community, selected in consultation with the Eastern Vicar and Director of the Office of Hispanic Ministries
- One representative of the young adult community, selected by the Director of the Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in consultation with the executive Director of the Office of Evangelization
- Quarterly, rotating among the three vicariates; one meeting/year could be a retreat/formation opportunity
(Additional interim meetings may be necessary in the initial year of the APC.)
- Meetings held either weeknights or Saturday mornings
- The agenda for each meeting will be set by the Archbishop in consultation with an executive committee of the APC with support from staff and will be disseminated in a timely manner in advance of the meeting to the members.
Initial Considerations for the 2019
Archdiocesan Pastoral Council
- The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC) is consultative to the Archbishop on current matters of priority in the Archdiocese, and will follow parallel operating procedures for the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors.
- The initial membership should help to discern how the role of the APC will be integrated into the decision-making process of the Archbishop and the leadership of the Archdiocese without unnecessarily duplicating the work of other consultative bodies.
- New members should be provided with appropriate formation and an orientation of the Pastoral Center in order to have a general understanding of the operations of the Archdiocese.
- The initial membership should review the proposed mission and membership selection process for possible adaptations, and conduct regular assessment of this body to ensure its purpose and mission is being effectively met.
- The APC should create methods to hear from the people of their Regions and representative groups so that they may accurately reflect to the Archbishop the input from the people of the Archdiocese as a whole.
- Recognizing that the Archbishop does not have the authority to change settled Church teaching, the role of the APC is to assist in discerning how to accompany practicing and alienated Catholics as they seek to understand and apply Church teaching to the reality of their daily lives.
- When feasible, technology should be employed to gather input, hold meetings and communicate with the people of the Archdiocese and among APC members.