Pastoral Council


Members of the Pastoral Council
Chairperson – Gerard Campbell
Vice-Chair – Roisin Lynch
Secretary – Patrick McGrillen
Vice Secretary –
Patrick McGrillen, , Movanna Poland,  Karen Harrison, Laura McKnight, Colin Maybin,            Paul Jordan, Fr James O’Reilly &  Fr. Sean Emerson

The process of forming a Pastoral Council for our Parish began in 2010 with the ‘Making a Difference’ course which was attended by about fifty parishioners.

At the last meeting of the course, it was agreed that consideration should be given to setting up a Parish Pastoral Council and Fr. Emerson asked if anyone would be interested in doing so. A number of people volunteered and since October 2011 they have met on a monthly basis to reflect on a vision for the council and its role in the parish.

Commissioning of the Parish Pastoral Council took place on 3rd October 2012 in St Joseph’s Church.

The Parish of Antrim Pastoral Council – Foundation Document    

August 2012

 1 Introduction

In his letter “At the Beginning of the New Millennium, Pope John Paul II states that the church of the Third Millennium will need to encourage all the baptised and confirmed to be aware of their active responsibility in the church’s life”. This responsibility is rooted in the church’s teaching that all baptised share in the role of Christ the Priest, the Prophet and the King and all the baptised have an equal and active part to play in the life and mission of the church (Vatican II Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity).

Parish Pastoral Councils are structures of participation where the shared responsibility for the mission of the church and the genuine equality and action of all baptised is both encouraged and sustained in the life of the parish (Canon Law -Canon 536).

The Parish Priest established a Pastoral Council for the Parish of Antrim on 28th April 2012, and in doing so he expresses his desire to share with parishioners his responsibility for the governance of the parish and its three churches, St.Comgall’s, St.Joseph’s and St.MacNissius.

2 Purpose


The Mission Statement of the Parish of Antrim Pastoral Council reads “the Parish of Antrim is a welcoming community on a journey of faith. We seek to awaken the love of Christ and the Gospel in each other’s hearts. We value and care for one another and we try to reach out to others, proclaiming the Gospel”.

The purpose of the Parish of Antrim Pastoral Council is to enhance and strengthen our Mission Statement through prayer, reflection and working alongside the priests, religious and laity within the parish. Prayer and reflection is at the heart of our Mission Statement and continues to support the Pastoral Council in:

  • Promoting, supporting and  co-ordinating  the various parish initiatives of evangelisation and pastoral action;
  • Liaising with and supporting the various groups and committees in the parish;
  • Communicating with parishioners and listening to their views on a regular basis.

3 Scope


The Pastoral Council exists to care for the well-being of the community in the Parish of Antrim and will work in consultation with other parish groups. As a pastoral group, the Council promotes and embodies care and offers a listening heart. The Pastoral Council will provide a spirit of partnership, where listening is real and where decisions are shared and where collaborative ministry promotes a sense of ownership and participation amongst all parishioners. The Pastoral Council works in conjunction with the Parish Priest, with whom the final decision making resides.

4 Membership


Pastoral Council members offer a willingness to serve the entire parish community. They are chosen for their gifts, talents and abilities in performing and accomplishing the main purpose of the Council – the work of investigating, considering and recommending practical solutions. All members are baptised, practising Catholics   who reflect the parish’s various neighbourhoods and social and professional groups.

5 Selection of Members


The Pastoral Council will operate on a three year cycle. There shall normally be twelve members constituting the Parish of Antrim Pastoral Council alongside the Parish team. Two thirds of the membership will stand down after the first term to enable new members to be selected for the second term of the Council. The office bearers within the Council, namely, the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Assistant Secretary, shall remain as members of the Council for the first three years of the following term to ensure continuity and good governance. However, they will only hold onto their office positions for a further year, pending the selection of new office bearers[1].

This process of selection of new members to the Pastoral Council shall be carried forward to future Pastoral Council terms thus ensuring that the opportunity always exists for fresh ideas, wisdom, insight and commitment to be brought to the Council. Therefore, members shall always expect to remain on the Council for one term of three years apart from office bearers who will commit to sitting on the Council for two terms (three years as office bearers and three years as members).

The Pastoral Council shall review membership requirements as and when throughout individual terms of office and may select additional members if the need arises e.g. to replace an existing member who has stepped down from the Council.

The selection of new members is a process that shall commence not less than twelve months prior to the end of any three year Council term. Proposals / nominations shall be sought in advance (nomination forms can be provided) and they shall be reviewed by the Pastoral Council’s office bearers and the Parish Priest. Thereafter, a decision will be taken to appoint new members. Should insufficient candidates be proposed / nominated, or if those proposed / nominated are deemed not to be suitable, the vacant position(s) may be filled by co-option processes and may include existing / past members of the Pastoral Council.

Training and guidance shall be provided to all new members of the Pastoral Council as part of a structured induction process.

The first Pastoral Council will operate until 30 September 2015. Subsequent councils will operate on a three year cycle e.g. from 1 October 2015 until 30 September 2018 and so on.

6 Officers


The Parish Priest presides at every meeting of the Pastoral Council.  The Parish Priest and Council members select four officers from among their number namely:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary

With the Parish Priest, these office bearers help to set the Council agenda. The Chair facilitates Council discussions, ensuring that all members have a voice and that their views and opinions are valued and respected. The agenda will always be a strong guide for each meeting. It begins with a review of the previous minutes and any action points and matters arising. Agreed action points should always be implemented within agreed timescales with responsibility identified to Council members where necessary and appropriate. The Chair will also monitor the work of members and committees between the regular meetings of the Pastoral Council.

The Vice-Chair assists the Chair and facilitates meetings in the absence of the Chair. The Secretary keeps accurate minutes and ensures that they are sent, along with any agendas and supporting documents, to each member of the Council at least one week in advance of every meeting. The Assistant Secretary supports the Secretary in his/her role and performs the Secretary’s duties in his/her absence. A master copy of each agenda and approved minutes (signed by the Chair) shall be kept in the Parish Office.

7 Operation of the Pastoral Council


The Parish of Antrim Pastoral Council has a three year planning cycle, in tandem with the three year term allocated to Council members. The Pastoral Council, in conjunction with the Parish Priest, defines the vision and themes of the planning cycle in the first meeting of each new Council.

In the beginning of the Council’s second and third years, the members facilitate a parish assembly or Annual General Meeting to report on the Council’s progress and to elicit the advice of parishioners. At the end of the third year, the Council completes its work. It is then time to select a new Pastoral Council and a new three year planning cycle commences again.

The Pastoral Council shall also review its Foundation Document on an annual basis and update it as and when is necessary. This can take place within an annual day of reflection where an outside facilitator shall work with the Council to reflect on progress made.

8 Relationship with other Parish Committees and the Wider Vicariate


The Parish Priest consults other groups and individuals including the Pastoral Council about matters relating to parish governance. He continues to rely on the parish staff for their expertise and consults with them regularly in relation to the management of parish operations.

Indeed, the Parish Priest may occasionally request parish staff members and other individuals / groups to attend Council meetings to share their expertise with the Pastoral Council. This may also be replicated by members of the Pastoral Council also attending / communicating with other Parish groups as required.

9 Meetings


The Pastoral Council meets once a month between September and June each year. The meetings are usually held from 7.30pm until 9.30pm on the third Thursday of the month in St.Comgall’s Parochial House. Occasionally, meetings may be held in other agreed locations. On one occasion each year, the Council shall meet in an external location where an external facilitator will help members to reflect on progress made.

Between the monthly meetings, members are expected to follow up on any actions arising from the previous meeting and prepare for the next meeting as required. This may involve work within any ad-hoc committees that have been established by the Council.

The first meeting of the new Pastoral Council is dedicated to the call and mission of the newly selected members. During the final meeting of each year, the members reflect on the progress made within the three year planning cycle. The Parish Priest also thanks the members for their contributions and service and reflects on the progress made by the Pastoral Council towards meeting its goals.

Each meeting of the Parish of Antrim Pastoral Council shall commence and finish with prayer.

[1] Within the first term of the Pastoral Council, office bearers will hold their positions for the full three years in addition to the first year of the second term of the Pastoral Council (four years in total). For the second and subsequent terms of the Pastoral Council, office bearers will take up their positions in year two and remain in post until the end of year one in the following term (three years in total).

Social Committee:

Members of the Committee:

Rev Fr Emerson                             Eamon Hill

Angela Callan                                Jo Kelly

Christine Corrigan                         Patricia Murray

The present Social Committee was formed in September 2010.  The purpose of the committee is to plan and organise events that will enable people to come together and enjoy each other’s company in an informal way.  It is hoped that such events will embrace all sections of the Parish Community.

Our first venture was to organise a Christmas Bazaar which took place in December 2010.  A large group of volunteers worked hard to ensure that this was a very successful and enjoyable afternoon for everyone.  It is hoped that the Christmas Bazaar will become an annual event.

Other social events are being planned and these will be advertised in the Parish Bulletin.  Volunteers are always welcome, so if you are interested in helping please contact any of the committee members through the Parish Office telephone 028 9442 8016

Parish Finance Committee:

Seamus McLean                            Chair: Vincent Donoghue

Donna Hasson                               Secretary:  Ronnie Conway

Treasurer: Gerry Murray                                   Eamon Hart

The role of the committee is to prepare the annual budget, constantly review the finances of the Parish and advise the Parish Priest on all such financial matters. The committee meets on the second Wednesday of each month.

Child Care Committee:

Monica Hart

Elizabeth Wilson                           Chair: Gerry Wilson

Secretary: Claire McCallum

Rosemary Maguire

Bernie Mann

Communications Committee:

Members of the Committee:

Bernie Mann                            Fr James O’Reilly

Paul McShane                          Secretary: Patricia Murray

The Communications Committee is a new initiative in our Parish, which was set up in October 2010. The concept behind it is to convey as much information about the Parish, to as to many parishioners as possible, in the hope that our Parish will become really vibrant and welcoming.

Our first task has been to renew the website and following it’s launch it will continue to be updated. We hope to make it as inclusive and interesting as possible and welcome contributions from Parishioners from home and abroad.

Anyone wishing to submit a notice or article please send it to the parish office or email:

Conscious that not everyone uses the internet and in an effort to reach as many people as possible the Communications Committee will also be looking at ways of improving the information flow in the weekly bulletin and updating the notice boards in the Churches.

Youth Club Committee:

Gavin Andrews (Chair)


Frances Doole (Treasurer)

Alana Molloy (Youth Leader)

St Comgalls Youth Centre have a vision to provide access to youth programmes for all young people of the parish in a fun, safe and encouraging environment. Central to this vision is the empowerment of young people, supporting their personal and social development.

To achieve this vision the Management Committee has developed an action plan spanning the next 3 years. In addition the Committee have a range of responsibilities including:

  • The overall running of the Youth Centre in line with the centres vision and aims
  • Supporting and managing the staff and volunteer team
  • Ensuring that all appropriate policies and procedures are in place
  • Ensuring facilities and equipment are available to run a range of   activities.
  • Ensuring that the building is maintained and complies with legal requirements
  • Raising money for activities as well as managing and accounting for monies spent.

There are eight committee members who give time on a voluntary basis, meeting every 6 weeks. Members bring a range of experiences and relevant skills as well as being parents committed to supporting and developing young people.

We are continually striving to improve the service offered to the young people of Antrim Parish. If you have a concern or issue, a comment or a suggestion for improvement please feel free to talk with any member of the Committee.

St. Comgall’s Playgroup Committee:

St Comgall’s Playgroup Committee first met on the 8th July 1991, comprising a group of volunteers, with the purpose of establishing a Playgroup in St Comgall’s Parish, Antrim.  The Committee exists today, still with some of its founder members, supporting a Playgroup that has grown and flourished within our Parish.

The current Committee consists of 4 volunteer members, namely:

Mary McErlane Chairperson;

Frances McGarry, Treasurer and founder member


The remaining members are:

Fr Sean Emerson

Kathleen McKendry

Ann Smith

Shelley McCullough, Playgroup Leader.

The Committee also invites the Playgroup staff, Mo Kelly and Wanda Wells, as well as rotating Parent Representatives to attend the meetings.  We meet on a regular basis, (at least twice a term) to assist Shelley and her staff with making decisions that are important for the smooth running of the Playgroup.  We are there to support the staff in all aspects of Playgroup management, in fundraising and ultimately spending money in the most resourceful way for the children.

As the years have passed the Committee and the Playgroup have become more established and effective in the roles they perform, especially with the help of training courses facilitated by Early Years.  This has meant that we have become a stronger team, with defined positions intending to provide the best possible preschool education for Antrim Parish.

Naíscoil Na Tamhnaí Moire

Do you wish to have Bi-lingual education for your child? Funded places are available at Naiscoíl Na Tamhnaí Móire. Places also available for Reception and P.1.

Please contact: Naiscoil Na Tamhnaí Móire – 07840206800 0r Tannaghmore Primary School – 028 2589 8086. Email:

Chairperson:                                          Mrs M Darragh