The Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) is an organization consisting of laity, religious, deacons and priests. Just as a parish council assists a pastor by providing advice and effort in support of the parish, DPC assists Bishop Cunningham in his pastoral care for the entire diocese.
Where does the concept of a Diocesan Pastoral Council come from?
The Catholic Church has had a long tradition of co-operative action to help the bishop care for God's people in his diocese. Specifically, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council urged every diocese to establish a pastoral council "whose responsibility is to investigate under the authority of the Bishop all those things which pertain to pastoral works, to ponder them, and to propose practical conclusions about them." (Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops, no.27).
How is the Diocesan Pastoral Council organized?
Each parish in the diocese selects one person (who may be clergy, religious or lay) to represent that parish on the DPC. In addition to these parish representatives, there are representatives from each of the diocesan offices, the Presbyteral Council, or any other special ministries - depending on the issues being investigated and pondered by DPC at a particular time.
How does the Diocesan Pastoral Council serve the entire diocese?
The Diocesan Pastoral Council utilizes plenary sessions to create a 'central forum' for exchange of information and ideas on a diocesan-wide level and to strengthen the bonds of communication between the bishop and the parishes. In addition, the DPC Constitution provides for committees composed to address specific issues of diocesan-wide concern (e.g., Catholic education, finances, development of vocations and ministries, allocation of Church personnel resources, etc.).
What happens at plenary session of DPC?
The representative(or an alternate) from each parish is invited to participate in DPC plenary session under the leadership of Bishop Cunningham. These meetings are planned by the DPC Executive Committee in conjunction with the Bishop. Plenary meetings are held four times a year (twice in the Fall and Spring months). Plenary sessions allow the Bishop to share information and consult directly with representation of the entire Diocesan community.