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Finance Council

The pastor, according to Canon Law, has overall responsibility for parish financial management. The Parish Finance Council is a consultative body that assists the pastor in meeting this obligation. Consultation is at the heart of the decision-making process: sharing information, listening, contributing to the discussion and promoting consensus.

In order to be effective in their responsibilities as members of the Parish Finance Council, members should have a love for the Church and its mission and develop a thorough understanding of the parish’s mission, goals, people and resources. The pastor will seek the input of the Parish Finance Council for issues such as the regular management of parish funds, banking arrangements, capital expenditures, review and preparation of the annual budget, development initiatives, accounting practices, publication of financial reports and more.

If you would like to be considered for a future position on this board, please send an email to our pastor,

Fr.  John Green, ourladyoftheplains@gmail.com

Parish Finance Council

Every parish is to have a parish finance council to assist with the responsible stewardship of resources, and to be of assistance to the pastor (canon 537). In some circumstances, parishes administered by the same priest may have one parish finance council that acts on behalf of all the parishes administered to. In that circumstance, it is recommended that the parish finance council reflect the membership of the faithful from the participating parishes and/or missions. The Parish Finance Council is to adhere to the laws governing the administration of ecclesiastical goods under canon law and this Pastoral Handbook. The Parish Finance Council is a consultative body that provides consent to the pastor for certain transactions (see 1.3.5.7.) and guidance and advice to the pastor for other matters. The pastor is not obliged to follow the recommendations of his Finance Council. However, the pastor should not act against such advice, especially when there is the consensus amongst the members unless there is an overriding reason. When acting contrary to the Finance Council’s recommendations, the pastor should provide an explanation to members of the Finance Council regarding the reasons for his decision. 1.3.5.1. The pastor is to preside over the Parish Finance Council. In the event of a change in pastors, the Finance Council and the existing members remain on the council. 1.3.5.2. The Parish Finance Council shall consist of at least three members of the parish. The members are to serve for three years with the possibility of reappointment. A member who has served six years may be eligible to serve on the council again, but the pastor should consult with the Vicar for Clergy or the dean of the parish deanery. The members are to be qualified in financial administration and, where possible, in matters of civil and canon law as applicable to parochial circumstances. It is recommended that the Parish Finance Council designate one member as liaison with the Parish Pastoral Council and one member as a liaison with the School Advisory Council (see 1.3.6). The pastor appoints and may remove the members. However, the pastor may only remove members for extraordinary reasons and after consulting with either the dean of the parish deanery and/or the Vicar for Clergy. 1.3.5.3. The Parish Finance Council should recommend a chairperson from amongst its members annually for the pastor to appoint. The chairperson is to work with the pastor and parish business manager to set an agenda, identify key business issues that need to be addressed by the council and to communicate with the pastor and business manager on behalf of the council. The chairperson may also be asked to attend meetings with the pastor and staff from the Archdiocese and the Management Corp. from time to time. 1.3.5.4. The chairperson is to be appointed annually no later than July 1 . 1.3.5.5. The chairperson’s name, contact information, including email address, is to be provided as part of the Annual Report to the Archdiocese. 1.3.5.6. The Parish Finance Council must meet at least quarterly (more often is recommended) and minutes of these meetings must be documented and retained at the parish. Chapter 1 July 1, 2018, 1.3.5.7. The pastor is to obtain the consent of his finance council for the following matters: a. For acts of extraordinary administration before he seeks approval of the Archbishop. Acts of extraordinary administration are set forth in section 1.2.5.4. of this Chapter for the Archdiocese, and by analogy, apply to the parishes. Such acts include the following: i. Alienation of stable patrimony of the parish over the minimum limit (see Exhibit V) ii. To incur indebtedness or encumber the stable patrimony of the parish over the minimum limit. (see Exhibit V) b. The Parish Finance Council must review, approve and recommend the annual parish budget for approval by the pastor. c. At the discretion of the pastor, at least annually and at a minimum during the budget development process, the Parish Finance Council is to discuss the wages of all parish employees with the pastor. 1.3.5.8. The other duties of the Parish Finance Council are to provide assistance to the pastor or parish administrator in the administration of parochial goods and in assessing parish needs for present and long-term financial support. The pastor should obtain advice and/or hear from his council on the following: a. Assisting the parish staff, as needed, in the preparation of the annual budget of income and expenses according to the guidelines of the Archdiocese including the coordination and development of the parish school budget (if one exists) into the total budget of the parish. b. Actively monitoring the actual financial results as compared to the budget throughout the fiscal year and advising the pastor when significant variances have or will be realized. Determining what, if any, financial remedies need to be put in place (e.g. expense reductions or new fundraising programs). c. Submitting to the Office of Parish Finance, an Annual Report which includes a list of all Finance Council Members by August 30th of each year. (Ref: Chapter 10 – Parish Business Practices within the territory of the Archdiocese) d. Reviewing the monthly or quarterly parish financial statements and monitoring payment of all obligations of the parish. Chapter 1 July 1, 2018 e. Assisting the pastor with an ongoing review of internal control and accounting procedures. f. Assessing offertory giving levels, the effectiveness of stewardship and fundraising, including the review of fundraising activities to ensure compliance with fundraising requirements including civil requirements and proper internal controls including cash deposit procedures. g. Advising the pastor on all matters of parochial financial administration. 1.3.5.9. In addition to the required duties noted above, the pastor should consider the following as additional responsibilities of the Parish Finance Council: a. Assisting the pastor to ensure there is active and informed participation of the parishioners in the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal. b. Assisting the pastor in keeping current with and conforming to Archdiocesan policies and civil regulations. c. Ensuring that the parish remains current with its obligations to the parish employees, parish vendors, and Archdiocesan organizations, including the payment of assessments, insurance premiums, retirement premiums and payroll taxes. d. Reviewing and monitoring parish debt obligations to the Revolving Fund Trust and/or other financial institutions. e. Assisting the pastor with reporting the parish financial results and the budget to the parishioners on an annual basis. f. Consulting with the pastor on administrative matters. g. Assisting the pastor with hiring and reviewing the parish business manager/bookkeeper’s annual performance. In addition, assisting the pastor in monitoring and establishing just, fair and non-discriminatory salaries and benefits for parish employees. h. Assisting with monitoring parish banking relations and the investment of parish funds. i. Assisting the pastor in reviewing the bank and investment account reconciliations. j. Advising the pastor on the acceptance of both unrestricted and restricted gifts, including gifts of securities, real estate and other gifts which can be complex in nature (see Chapter 11). Chapter 1 July 1, 2018 k. Assisting with planning for the maintenance, repair, renovation or construction of parish buildings and capital assets. l. Reviewing the activities and financial reports of parish auxiliary organizations. ml. Providing advice on the use of undesignated bequests or other unbudgeted revenue. n. Assessing the parish’s needs and assisting with the development of long-range financial plans. o. Providing advice and assistance with the Conflicts of Interest Policy (See Chapter 7 – Archdiocese of Denver and Ecclesiastical Organizations), concerning the protection of whistle-blowers, fraud detection, reporting, and prevention. p. Reviewing and assisting the pastor in responding to issues identified in the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) management letter or from the review conducted as part of the Parish Review Program. The parish finance council must meet with the CPAs and/or Internal Auditors when a review or internal audit is completed at the parish. The parish finance council members, in addition to reviewing the findings, are to discuss with the CPAs or internal auditors any concerns they may have over the management of the funds or resources of the parish. A written response to the External CPA management letter must be signed by the pastor and the chair of the finance council and be sent to the Office of Internal Audit. q. Assisting the pastor and the business manager in the review of significant business contracts between the parish and outside vendors. r. The Finance Council shall have such other duties or responsibilities as may be identified elsewhere within this Pastoral Handbook or as requested by the pastor. 1.3.5.10. In the event the Parish Finance Council members become aware of any action by the parish that may give rise to a conflict of interest, the member is to report the action or activity to the chairperson and pastor immediately. The matter must be disclosed to the Parish Finance Council and a determination of appropriate action, whether the member must resign from the council or recuse themselves from a particular issue must be documented in the minutes. 1.3.5.11. In the event any member of the Parish Finance Council receives a report from someone of suspicion or evidence of fraud, theft or misuse of parish funds or property, they must report the incident to one of the following depending on the nature of the report, Chapter 1 July 1, 2018 the pastor and/or the chairperson of the parish finance council. The report is to be raised in the Parish Finance Council meetings and, if deemed credible, must be reported to the Moderator of the Curia.

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