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Purpose of a Parish Pastoral Council

Parish Pastoral Councils enable priests and people to work together to build up dynamic Christian communities that are characterised
by faith, evangelisation, worship and service. To this end they discern what is best for the parish in light of the gospel, the Church’s teaching and what the Holy Spirit is saying through the People of God.


The major tasks of the council include:

  • Reflection & Planning: Discerning the needs of the parish community and involving the whole parish in response to the needs.

  • Animation: Enabling the baptised to discover their call as disciples of Christ by discerning the gifts of the parishioners and developing them through the provision of training and on-going formation.

  • Action: Providing structures that will marry the needs of the parish with the gifts and resources in the parish.

  • Communication: Ensuring that effective dialogue takes place within the parish, the diocese and the wider community.

  • Evaluation: Reviewing the life and activities of the parish so that parishioners might have a sense of proceeding towards bringing about the reign of God.

Source: Ferguson, J. (2005) ‘A handbook for parish pastoral councils’. Columba Press, Dublin.

About the Parish of Maghera Pastoral Council - Promoting lay participation in our parish life

The Parish Pastoral Council has gathered over the past two years for a time of prayer, reflection and discussion to identify the needs of our parish going forward. We have engaged in a series of facilitated workshops by the Diocese to develop a Pastoral Plan for our parish.

This pastoral plan has involved identifying the wonderful work that has already taken place in our parish and the key areas which highlight the current and future needs of our parish, especially in the areas of:

  • Evangelisation;

  • Catechesis; 

  • Pastoral care; and

  • Care for our common home.

Fr. Jim and the members of the Parish Pastoral Council have engaged in a process of listening and discernment and have developed a mission statement with themes that capture the heart, life and mission of our parish community. These themes include a parish growing in faith together and a vibrant caring community where all feel welcomed and included.


Our Mission statement states: The Pastoral Council of the Parish of Maghera will be a visible presence, supporting our parish community. Mindful of the pastoral needs of the parishioners, we will work and pray together to discern a plan of action designed to create a vibrant, welcoming community where all feel included and cared for as we grow in faith together.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains; where is my help to come from?

My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.

May he save your foot from stumbling; may he, your guardian, not fall asleep!

You see -- he neither sleeps nor slumbers, the guardian of Israel.

The LORD is your guardian, your shade, Yahweh, at your right hand.

By day the sun will not strike you, nor the moon by night.

The LORD guards you from all harm The LORD guards your life,

The LORD guards your comings and goings, henceforth and for ever.

(Psalm 121)

A series of action points and parish activities  have emerged from each themes above which have either been completed or are currently in progress. These include:

  • Blessing of the animals following the Harvest Mass in November.

  • Bambinelli Mass (3rd Sunday of Advent when families are invited to present the baby Jesus figurine from their crib for blessing) took place in December. We also had a celebration of Mass in January to mark Catholic school’s week which was represented by St Mary’s Primary School. This celebration will be rotated for other schools to participate in coming years.

  • We have begun to liaise with parish volunteer groups following COVID and continue to encourage volunteers to re-engage in their groups.

  • The Bereavement Ministry Team who support families around the funeral liturgy have also implemented a follow up chat to assist the bereaved family in organising a month’s mind Mass for their loved one.

  • We are currently organising a day of reflection for our Bereavement Ministry which will include the ushers and sacristans, those who support the funeral liturgy and the volunteers who provide the catering following the funeral Mass.

  • During the winter months the parish centre has responded to the ‘cost of living crisis’ and have offered a warm lunch and some company as part of the ‘Winter Warmers Scheme’.

  • Supported by the Living Church Office, the parish will facilitate a series of lay ministry catechetical formation and enrichment days for Ministers of the Word, Extra-ordinary Eucharistic Ministers and Baptism Groups who currently volunteer in our parish.

The Parish Pastoral Council continues to promote lay participation in the life of our parish and would especially welcome your suggestions and feedback. We would like to encourage anyone interested in our work or have ideas to share to approach any of our members or leave a note into the Parish Office.

Current Parish Pastoral Council Members

Office Holders

President: Fr. Jim Crudden PP

Co Chair: Joanna Dougherty

Co Chair: Brenda Webb

Secretary: Lillian Hanna


Jacqueline Harbinson

Joanna Dougherty

Robert McChesney

Orla Magennis

Anne Makin

Paddy Shannon

Karl Ruddle

Contact the Parish Pastoral Council

Please contact the parish office if you have a query relating to the work of the Parish Pastoral Council.

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