Parish Ministry Commission
At St. Francis, the over eighty ministries and organizations of the parish
are divided into five major areas or categories. Representatives of each of
these groups sit on one of these five boards. This serves to literally bring all
the players to the table. As they gather, ideas are shared, events are
publicized, support is offered. The chair of the commission is called a
Commissioner and his or her task is to be a servant leader to the others,
maintaining the lines of communication, working to support the individual member
ministries, coordinating the efforts of the commission as a whole. Working in
tandem with the staff member whose department is associated with the commission,
the commissioner and staff liaison ensures that all members of the commission
maintain their formation and continue their education in the given field.
Each commission acts as a sort of parish council of its own. For example,
when issues regarding the liturgy are brought up, it is the liturgy commission
and not the parish council which is empowered to discern these issues. Why is
this? Because in many places, parish councils make rules and regulations without
a clear level of experience of what is entailed in the work in question. The
persons doing the discerning should be the persons involved in the decision
making. They will be doing the work. What this means in effect is that instead
of having one parish council which aids the pastor in making decisions, St.
Francis has six, and an active Finance Board! Furthermore, the commissioner sits
as a voting member of the parish council and can speak to questions from the
council regarding his or her area of ministry. He can take information from the
council back to the various groups he serves to aid in communication. He or she
can bring information to the council to be shared with the council and through
it with all of the other commissions.
The Commission Structure is designed to enable integration (coming together)
and collaboration (working together). Only with a commission can we be sure that
all groups and ministries have a voice, that all have a seat at the table and
that all know what is going on in the community.