Finance Council

The parish Finance Council is a consultative body of lay persons established to advise the Pastor in matters pertaining to the financial affairs of the parish.  

“Each parish is to have a Finance Council which is regulated by universal law as well as by norms issued by the Diocesan Bishop; in this council, the Christian faithful, selected according to the same norms, aid the Pastor in the administration of the parish goods with due regard for the prescription of Canon 532.” (Canon 537)

The relationship between the Pastor and the council is one of support and collaboration. The authority of the Pastor as defined in Canon 532, to act and decide in behalf of the parish, is not lessened by the establishment of the parish Finance Council.  

The 1983 Code of Canon Law, which requires the creation of a parish Finance Council, clearly places in it the competence to assist the Pastor in the administration of parish temporalities. The Code also allows the establishment of parish councils to assist the Pastor in planning, coordinating, guiding and directing of all aspects of parish life (Canon 536). It has been the consistent policy of the Diocese of Charlotte that a parish council be established in each parish. While the two councils are separate and each has a different and specific role in the life and operation of the parish, they must work together for the good of the parish.  

Therefore, for the purpose of good planning, cooperation and accountability, the person chosen to be the Chairperson of the parish Finance Council might be ex-officio a member of the Parish Council. He/she shall act as a liaison between the two councils and shall provide the Parish Council regular and timely reports (at least four times a year) on the financial status of the parish and the work activity of the  Finance Council.  

Finance Council Membership

The Finance Council shall be composed of the Pastor and not less than three reputable and practicing members of the parish who are knowledgeable and skilled in financial matters and known for their prudent judgment. Membership shall be by appointment of the Pastor, who shall consult with the Parish Council in making appointments to the Finance Council.  The Pastor is an ex-officio member of the Finance Council. The parish bookkeeper shall not be a member of the Finance Council. However, his/her attendance at Council meetings may be helpful and at times required. Members of the Finance Council may not be related to the Pastor, nor to any Parochial Vicars assigned to the parish.

The Pastor of the parish is the President of the Finance Council. He presides over the meeting and receives the council’s proposals. There shall be a Chairperson appointed by the Pastor. The Chairperson assists the Pastor in coordinating the work of the council, in preparing for meetings and in implementing those proposals of the council which has been accepted and ratified by the Pastor. The Chairperson performs other such tasks as may be delegated to him/her, including, if the Pastor so desires, chairing and conducting the regular meetings of the Council. The Chairperson is appointed for a term of one year; he/she may be re-appointed.  

The Finance Council shall meet at least four times a year. Meetings and agenda shall be arranged by the Chairperson in consultation and with the approval of the Pastor. The Pastor and members are expected to attend all meetings.  

Finance Council Functions

Pastors and parish administrators are obliged to administer parish goods, according to Church Law as found in Canons 1281-1288. The Finance Council assists the Pastor in fulfilling the following responsibilities:   

  1. To assure that the annual budget is properly prepared for review by the Parish Council (this included the parish school).
  2. To review as needed the implementation of the diocesan bookkeeping and accounting system for all parish finances.
  3. To ensure that the submission of the Semi-annual and Annual Financial Report is prepared and submitted to the Diocese.
  4. To prepare and publish an Annual Financial Statement and Report for the Parish Council and the members of the parish community.
  5. To develop procedures for the deposit of church funds in interest-bearing checking and savings accounts.
  6. To evaluate and to make recommendations regarding the needs and the effectiveness of the parish’s effort of church support through the Sunday offertory and other fund-raising activities.
  7. To develop a plan for the financing of necessary repairs, renovations, purchase of equipment and future building.
  8. To develop a plan for systematic payment of any parish debt.
  9. To coordinate all fund-raising programs.
  10. To provide the Parish Council with periodic reports (at least four times a year) on the financial status of the parish.
  11. To meet all requirements of federal and state tax laws, all requirements of the Diocesan Lay Retirement Program and maintain an accurate record of payment.
  12. To submit to appropriate civil authorities tax-exempt forms as required by law and to maintain records of same for all Church-owned properties.
  13. To safeguard the assets of the parish from loss or damage through appropriate monitoring following the recommendations of the diocesan insurance representative.
  14. To implement all diocesan policies relative to financial matters.

The Diocese of Charlotte Financial Policies and Procedures Manual for Parishes.

Parish financial statements are included in the parish bulletin twice a year. 

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