The Parish Finance Council is a consultative group of lay parishioners who help the pastor exercise proper stewardship by giving him advice about financial planning, analysis, and compliance with a policy. While canon law requires each parish to have a Parish Finance Council, good management practice provides ample testimony to the benefits of having an active Parish Finance Council. The Parish Finance Council is advisory to the pastor and its recommendations are valid only when accepted and ratified by the pastor.
Board of Trustees
Under New York law, the Board of Trustees consists of the Archbishop of New York, as president of the civil corporation, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese as the vice president, the pastor of the parish as the secretary-treasurer and two lay trustees are chosen by the pastor, with the approval of the Archbishop. The Board of Trustees oversees the pastor’s management of the parish. All major decisions about the funds and property of the parish must have the approval of the Board of Trustees.
The pastor is the civil law secretary-treasurer and the administrative officer of the parish and has the following duties. Under the supervision of the president and vice president, the pastor:
• is responsible for all of the funds and property of the parish;
• keeps the funds in the name of the parish corporation at a bank (or banks) chosen by the Board of Trustees;
• keeps an accurate account of the receipts and disbursements of the corporation;
• makes a detailed financial report of the preceding fiscal year to the Board of Trustees at its annual meeting
• conducts all the official correspondence of the corporation and keeps a record of its meetings; and
• performs other duties and makes other reports as required by the Board of Trustees.
Membership and Terms of Office
The Parish Finance Council includes the pastor and at least three, but not more than eight, reputable and practicing members of the parish who are knowledgeable and skilled in financial matters and are known for their prudent judgment. The pastor is an ex-officio member of the Council. The parish bookkeeper or accountant may not be a member of the Council but may be invited to attend meetings. Members of the Parish Finance Council cannot be related to the pastor or to any of the associate priests assigned to the parish. Members of the Parish Finance Council serve a three-year term and may be appointed to a second three-year term.
The Parish Finance Council should meet once every quarter. The pastor serves as president of the Council. He presides at the meetings and receives the Council’s proposals. The pastor appoints a chairperson to assist him in coordinating the work of the Council, including preparing for meetings and implementing proposals which have been accepted and ratified by the pastor. Each meeting should include a review of a current financial report in relation to the budget.
Responsibilities of the Parish Finance Council
The Parish Finance Council’s mission and responsibilities are to assist the pastor as follows:
- create an annual budget for the parish;
- ensure that the Annual Financial Report is prepared and submitted to the Archdiocese in a timely manner;
- provide the Parish Council with regular, periodic reports on the financial status of the parish;
- prepare and publish an Annual Financial Report for the Parish Council and members of the parish community;
- develop procedures for the deposit of church funds in an interest-bearing checking account, when available, and/or a savings account;
- monitor the investment of liquid assets in accord with Archdiocesan financial policies;
- evaluate and make recommendations about the parish’s support through the offertory collections and other fundraising initiatives;
- develop a plan for financing necessary repairs, renovations and purchase of equipment;
- develop a plan for systematic repayment of any parish debt;
- provide assistance in the oversight of all fund-raising programs;
- ensure that the parish complies with all requirements of Federal, State and local laws;