ROLE OF PARISH TRUSTEES AND PARISH FINANCE COUNCILS
THE PARISH FINANCE COUNCIL IS GOVERNED BY:
CANON LAWCIVIL LAW (as it relates to Trustees only)DIOCESAN NORMS ISSUED BY THE BISHOP
CANON LAW – (UNIVERSAL LAW)
Canon 537 –In each parish there is to be a finance council which is governed , in addition to universal law, by norms issued by the diocesan bishop and in which the Christian faithful, selected according to these same norms, are to assist the pastor in the administration of the goods of the parish.“Universal law”i.e. Canon Law, states that the parish must have a finance council. “Norms issued by the diocesan bishop” takes the form of a booklet which has been issued to each parish entitledNorms for the Parish Finance Council and The Statutes of the Fourth Synod of the Diocese of Trenton”.
CIVIL LAWRevised Statutes of New Jersey – Title 16–The Roman Catholic Church
Title 16, Chapter 15 deals exclusively with the Roman Catholic Church. This chapters states the following:For the Diocese, the officers/trustees of the corporation are as follows:Bishop of Trenton President/TreasurerVicar General Vice PresidentChancellor SecretaryPriest of Diocese TrusteePriest of Diocese Trustee
Revised Statutes of New Jersey – Title 16–The Roman Catholic Church - Continued
For all Parishes, the officers/trustees of the corporation are as follows:Bishop of Trenton PresidentVicar General Vice PresidentPastor Secretary/TreasurerLay Parishioner TrusteeLay Parishioner Trustee
DIOCESAN NORMS ISSUED BY THE BISHOP – (LOCAL LAW)
NORMS FOR THE PARISH FINANCE COUNCILSTATUTES OF THE FOURTH SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON (1991)GUIDELINES FOR PARISH BOARD OF TRUSTEES
NORMS FOR THE PARISH FINANCE COUNCIL
STRUCTURE AND MEMBERSHIPCONSULTATIVE ROLECLEAR DISTINCTION
STRUCTURE AND MEMBERSHIP
Members are selected by the pastor and are accountable and advisory to him.Members must have a special competence in finance.Minimum of three members exclusive of the pastor.A Pastor may dissolve a Parish Finance Council which does not perform its function appropriately with the requirement that it be reestablished within 30 days.The parish finance council is consultative in nature, requiring the presence of the pastor for the validity of the proceedings.The parish finance council is the only parish body which survives the reassignment, removal or retirement of the pastor. However, the parish finance council may only meet when the pastor is present.
STRUCTURE AND MEMBERSHIP - CONTINUED
For an appointment to the Finance Council to be valid, a Letter of Appointment is necessary for each member which states the term of the appointment.A Business Managers should attend all meetings but is not members of the Finance Council.Term of appointment is three years with the option of one additional three year term at the discretion of the pastor.Finance Council members must not be involved in the day to day affairs of the parish.
Pastor must consult with Finance Council concerning any major unbudgeted commitment of parish resources in excess of $10,000 and acts of extraordinary administration. This excludes normal recurring expense.Extraordinary administration includes: making long term investments; acts of alienation; accepting or refusing a bequest; land purchases; construction projects; extensive building repairs; establishing a cemetery or school;
CONSULTATIVE ROLE - CONTINUED
Expenditures, whether budgeted or unbudgeted, in the amount of $30,000 or over ($50,000 for parishes with ordinary collections of $1 million a year or more) must be discussed with the Finance Council and then approved by the Diocesan Bishop.The Finance Council must review and approve the budget prior to the pastor’s review and approvalThe Finance Council must have complete and total access to all records and documents which will enable them to fulfill their responsibilities.
At all times, there must be a clear distinction between consulting and advising the pastor on financial policy formation, which is the proper work of the Parish Finance Council, and administration which is the proper work of the pastor and his staff.
STATUTES OF THE FOURTH SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON (1991)
Statute 158– Each parish shall have a parish finance council composed of qualified members of the parish to assist the Pastor in his responsibility to administer the parish’s temporal goods. This council will be governed by norms provided by the diocesan Bishop.
GUIDELINES FOR PARISH BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Lay Trustees are elected by the ex-officio trustees (Bishop, Vicar General, Pastor). Typically, the pastor selects a lay trustee followed by a Resolution of Election.Trustees must have financial competence.Trustees must serve on the parish finance council.Term is one year with no more than six consecutive terms.