Running a parish is a big job. It requires so much expertise in so many different areas — from finances to faith formation. The job of a pastor is so multifaceted. It requires administrative work even as the pastor serves to truly “pastor” us — to guide us in our life of faith. So the Pastoral Council works to help him.
“We serve as a liaison between the pastor and the parish,” says Josh Hager, who has served as a member of Ascension’s Pastoral Council for nearly six years. “In a way, we are his eyes and ears within the parish.”
Up to now, Josh’s work on the council has been under the guidance of our former pastor, Msgr. Jim Braaten.
“Monsignor was always so busy,” Josh says. “He could not be everywhere all the time. There is only so much he can do. So we offered him our expertise and our input where we could, and he did the same, telling us what he thought needed to be done in this or that instance.”
Each member of the Pastoral Council serves in a variety of other ways within the parish. For example, Josh is on the Stewardship Committee, and another member is on the Finance Committee. This allows the pastor to gain a greater understanding of what is taking place within the different areas of parish life without having to be present at every meeting. The members of the Pastoral Council then meet with the pastor every few months to touch base.
“It gives us the ability to have a one-on-one with the pastor,” Josh says. “It is a time when we can offer him our ideas based on our experiences, and he, in turn, tells us what he thinks needs to happen accordingly.”
Josh says that serving on the Pastoral Council has given him a greater appreciation for his place within the Ascension parish family.
“This is our home,” he says. “It is our responsibility to take ownership of our parish as our home and to get involved as much as we can. I always tell people that as a practicing Catholic, getting involved in this or another ministry isn’t really adding much to your plate. People can be so intimidated by the idea of getting involved, but really it builds your own faith when you do so.”
What’s more, Josh says that he firmly believes that our children are watching what we do, and they will follow suit.
“It is servant leadership,” he says. “You are serving, sure. But you are also leading your kids and others around you by your example of service.”
Josh is coming to the end of his time on the committee. Each member serves a three-year term, and if they are then appointed by the pastor, they can serve a second term. Josh has served two, so in the coming year he will step down. He adds that when his term limits are up, a few other members will also be at the end of their term. There will be three open spots, and Josh encourages all of us to prayerfully consider serving on the council.
“If you feel that God might be calling you to serve our parish in this way, please call the parish office,” Josh says. “It really is a small time commitment for such a big return. Serving our parish in this manner is quite an honor.”
If you are interested in being part of our Pastoral Council, please contact the parish office at 701-223-3606.