II. The Parish Finance Council
Establishment of the Parish Finance Council:
Every parish shall have a Finance Council distinct from the Parish Pastoral Council. Established by the universal law of the church, the Parish Finance Council is regulated by the norms of the Code of Canon Law as well as by those issued by the diocesan Bishop. The Parish Finance Council is to aid the pastor in the administration of the goods of the parish (C. 537).
The Parish Finance Council is made up of members of the Christian faithful selected by the pastor according to the norms of law (C. 537). Its members should be conscious they share in the mission God has entrusted to the church (C. 204). As they hold an ecclesiastical office, they should be in full communion with the Catholic Church (C. 145, #2; 149; 205; 228; and 1282) and members of the parish they are to serve. An exception can be made for small parishes.
The Parish Finance Council shall consist of at least five members of the parish community. An exception may be granted upon request to small parishes on a case-bycase basis. Persons are to be selected for their expertise in financial matters, economics, general business management, banking, law, insurance, accounting and financial investment. In addition, members are to have prudence, uprightness and knowledge of the Catholic faith that will enable them to put into practice the message of the Gospel. Moreover, all members of the Parish Finance Council should take care to be objective and not to represent themselves in any deliberations.
The Pastor, to whom the Council gives advice, is not a member of the Parish Finance Council. No parish staff person, paid or volunteer, may serve on the Parish Finance Council. Parish administrative staff persons should serve as advisors to help
the Parish Finance Council accomplish its work. Excluded from the Parish Finance Council are those who are related to the pastor or have a family or legal relationship to a parish employee engaged in financial administration. The Parish Finance Council shall assess the need for external consultants to aid in the Council's work and advise the pastor to engage them.
The Parish Finance Council shall see that proper financial records are maintained for all parish assets and liabilities, revenues and expenses in accord with the Chart of Accounts approved by the Diocesan Finance Office. The Parish Finance
Council will assist the pastor in developing a balanced parish budget for each fiscal year according to the priorities and goals set by the Parish Pastoral Council and approved by
him. The Parish Finance Council will monitor the finances of the parish by reviewing monthly comparisons of actual revenues and expenditures with the budget, the investments, and the overall financial operation of the parish. Unforeseen expenditures
not anticipated in the budget should first be reviewed by the Parish Finance Council. II–3
The Parish Finance Council will assist the pastor in compiling an annual report of the parish‟s finances which is to be sent to the Bishop by August 15th of each year (C. 1284, #2, 8). It will also arrange for the publication to the parish of the annual report and
of regular reports on the parish‟s financial status. The annual report must include a statement of financial position (Balance Sheet) to include all assets, including all cash accounts, investment, building and endowment fund accounts, as well as all parish liabilities and the overall parish net worth.
Annually (due with the Parish Annual Report on August 15th), the Parish Finance Council will submit a letter to the Bishop of Richmond containing:
1. a statement that the pastor and parish finance council have met, developed and discussed the parish‟s financial statements and budget of the parish;
2. the names and professional titles of each parish finance
3. the dates when the parish finance council met in the
preceding fiscal year and since the fiscal year end; and
4. the dates when the approved (by the parish finance
council) parish financial statements and budget were made
available to the parishioners in the preceding fiscal year
with a copy of such sent to the Bishop of Richmond. A pro-forma letter and listing of parish finance council names and professional titles can be found in Appendix 14.
The Parish Finance Council itself will review the internal accounting controls over the parish‟s financial operations and will review in detail the books and records of the parish so that it is assured that these are properly maintained. It will establish a process whereby the council members themselves can exercise this oversight at appropriate intervals during the year.
The Parish Finance Council will exercise oversight over all parish investments and all finances relating to the parish or its school or any other parish programs done in the name of the parish and enjoying its tax exemption.
From “Called to Stewardship” pages II 1-3 2007/15