Finance Councils

Norms for Finance Councils
(Promulgated by Archbishop Hanus on March 14, 2008)

I.       Preamble

In the spirit of canon 537 mandating that every parish have a Finance Council, the Parishes of St. Bridget, Postville; St. Patrick, Monona; and St. Mary, McGregor, Iowa establishes this Finance Council to work in collaboration with the standing committees of the Cluster Pastoral Council, with the following distinct purposes and responsibilities. This Finance Council is a body appointed by the pastor. The Finance Council presents its recommendations to the Cluster Pastoral Council for consideration and final approval.

II.      Purpose

The Finance Council has as its primary purpose to support the parish participation in the fourfold mission of Jesus Christ to celebrate faith, proclaim the Gospel, build community, and serve the needy.

 The Finance Council serves as an advisory body to the pastor/pastoral administrator and the Pastoral Council regarding the administration and stewardship of human resources, parish facilities, and parish finances, including the annual budget and long-range financial development. The Finance Council is a consultative body that enables the parish to live its mission by prudent and lawful stewardship of all resources.

The Finance Council has as its responsibility the obligation of planning, providing for, and supervising the financial affairs and the physical properties of the parish. It is concerned with the budget, stewardship, church support, and the effective utilization and maintenance of the parish plant. This Council provides the necessary administrative and financial skills needed to sustain the mission and ongoing development of the parish community.

The members of the Finance Council work in communion with the pastor and the Cluster Pastoral Council of the parishes to accomplish the mission of the Church as articulated in the parish mission statement.  The Finance Council assists the pastor in the appropriate administration and stewardship of parish facilities, finances, and personnel for the purpose of supporting the parish and of furthering its mission.

III.     Responsibilities

         A.      To develop policies and procedural recommendations which exercise financial stewardship and insure that the financial policies and procedures of the parish are in accord with civil and canon law, Archdiocesan policies, and the Internal Control Guidelines of the Archdiocese.

         B.      To research, prepare, and submit to the Cluster Pastoral Council an annual budget, insuring that financial resources and goals are compatible, based on stewardship and the parish mission.

         C.      To collaborate with local and/or regional boards of education and formation in the development of the education budget in accord with Archdiocesan Board of Education and Formation policies and procedures.

         D.      To provide to the Cluster Pastoral Council monthly or quarterly reports on the financial condition of the parishes, including the results of operations in comparison to the budget, and to make recommendations as needed.

         E.      To verify that required financial reports are prepared and submitted to the Archdiocese.

         F.      To provide to the parish a printed financial report at least annually and highlight salient points of this report by an oral summary to the congregation as needed.

         G.      To develop and recommend parish personnel policies including employment agreements and salary/benefits packages.

         H.      To assist in establishing effective means of raising the funds needed to attain the goals of the parishes.

         I.        To develop local procedures for handling and coordinating all fund-raising not part of the regular parishes budget.

         J.       To make recommendations, jointly with the Stewardship Committee, regarding the increase of revenues and the stewardship of resources.

         K.      To propose a long-range plan for capital expenditures which is aligned with the parish mission.

         L.      To propose a long-range plan for risk management and preventive maintenance of all parish properties.

         M.     To periodically inspect all parish properties in order to insure that more immediate necessary repairs and improvements are included and completed.

         N.      To maintain and present to the Cluster Pastoral Council a priority checklist and timetable for major repairs, renovations, and construction.

IV.    Membership

         A.      Parishioners who are knowledgeable of and interested in the field of administration and finance are ideal candidates for membership on the Council, such as successful business persons and farmers, lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, and individuals knowledgeable in fund-raising, financial planning, building maintenance, human resources, stewardship, and construction.

         B.      Three to seven members appointed by the pastor constitute the membership of the Finance Council.

         C.      The term of appointed members is three years. Members serve at the discretion of the pastor, but no member shall serve more than two terms consecutively. Appointments should be staggered to provide for continuity on the Finance Council.

         D.      The officers of the Finance Council are the chair, the vice-chair, and the secretary. Officers are elected annually. The chair is an ex officio voting member of the Cluster Pastoral Council.

         E.      The Finance Council may establish task forces or committees to assist with the business of the Finance Council (e.g., budget, buildings and grounds, human resources, project committees). Given the nature of the matters handled by the Finance Council, it may often be desirable to have long-term continuity of

                   involvement by certain individuals who possess the skills and intimate understanding of the business and/or financial affairs of the parishes.  Accordingly, former Finance Council members are eligible to serve on task forces and committees established by the Finance Council.

V.  Qualities/Expectations of Appointed Members

         A.      Be registered Catholic parishioners

         B.      Possess integrity and maintain confidentiality

    C.      View membership as a ministry of service without any vested or reciprocal


         D.      Possess a working knowledge of at least one of the following: financial affairs, building maintenance, construction, law, insurance, human resources, fund-raising, marketing, stewardship

         E.      Have a clear understanding of the parish mission

         F.      Have the ability to be collaborative

         G.      Attend meetings regularly and complete tasks as assigned

VI.    Procedures

         A.      The Finance Council holds regular meetings and convenes for work sessions as needed. A simple majority of the Finance Council shall constitute a quorum. The presence of the pastor is required at regular meetings to hear the discussion and understand the recommendations of the Finance Council.

         B.      Minutes of all meetings are to be properly recorded and duly maintained in the parish archives.

         C.      Recommendations will normally be determined by consensus, except when a formal vote is necessary.

 Following the recommendations for approval made by the Priests’ Council, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Archdiocesan Board of Education, and the Archdiocesan Finance Council, these norms are approved and promulgated this 14th day of  March, 2008, with an effective date of July 1, 2008.  Pastors should use their discretion in making the transition from present membership and terms to the new arrangements.  The transition should be completed by June 30, 2010.