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Parish Council Constitution and By-Laws

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We, the clergy, religious and laity of the Church of Saint John and Saint Mary, in response to the Second Vatican Council hereby unite to form a Parish Council to further the mission of Christ among us all in a coordinated and unified manner, to unite ourselves into one community as members of the Body of Christ, to recognize and exercise our responsibilities and duties as members of this council of God.


Article I


The name of the organization shall be “The Parish Council of the Church of Saint John and Saint Mary of Chappaqua, New York.”


Article II


Section 2.01. The Parish Council shall assist the Pastor in the administration of the Parish by recommending to him courses of action concerning matters pertaining to the temporal and spiritual welfare of the Parish and to give the Parish an organized way of sharing in the teaching, sanctifying and governing of the people of God; and


Section 2.02. To provide a continuous and integrated study of the spiritual and temporal needs of the Parish, the community and the Archdiocese of New York; and after determining priorities to develop and implement programs aimed at meeting these needs; and


Section 2.03. To cooperate with and to effectively follow the guidelines and direction given by the Archbishop, Archdiocesan Commissions and other higher Church authority.


Article III


Authority and Powers

Section 3.01. The Parish Council shall exercise all those rights and powers and shall assume all the authority conferred upon it by the members of the Parish of St. John & St. Mary, and given to it by the Archbishop of New York and, where not inconsistent with such Church authority, by Federal, State and local law.

Section 3.02. The Parish Council shall have the power to:


A. Adopt By-Laws, consistent with the terms and provisions hereof;

B. Designate committees; prescribe the duties and functions of each; appoint a member of the Parish Council as chairperson and approve members of the Parish Council or Parish at large to serve on such committees.

C. Have access to Parish records, through properly designated officers, except where it is determined by the Pastor that privacy of personal matters must be safeguarded.

D. Have such other powers as are necessary and appropriate to effect the Purposes as set forth in Article II hereof.


Article IV


Section 4.01. Membership in the Parish Council shall be open to all Catholic members of registered families who have passed their eighteenth birthday, including clergy and religious assigned to the Parish.

Section 4.02. The Parish Council shall be composed of 12 - 15 persons. The membership shall consist of designated members and elected members.


A. The designated members shall be:


1. The Pastor;

2. The Assistant Pastor or a clergyman designated by the Pastor;

3. The Director of Religious Education Programs;

4. The Youth Minister;

5. The past President of the Women’s Association; and


B. There shall be  at least 6 members elected /appointed by the members of the Parish.


Article V

Term of Office

Section 5.01. The term of office for each elected member shall be for a period of two years.

Section 5.02. No person shall serve on the Parish Council for more than two consecutive terms. A person who has served on the Parish Council for two consecutive terms shall again become eligible for election to the Parish Council after a period of two years from the completion of his or her second consecutive term.


Section 5.03. The Parish Council has the right to dismiss or request the resignation of any elected member for failure to attend meetings, participate in Council activities or general disinterest in Council matters by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire Parish Council.


Section 5.04. Whenever a vacancy shall be deemed to exist due to the death, resignation, removal or other inability of an elected member to complete his or her term of office, the vacancy shall be filled by the candidate receiving the next highest vote tally in the previous annual election. If such candidate declines to fill the vacancy, then the following candidates in order of votes shall be requested to fill the vacancy. If no candidate from the previous election is available or willing to fill the vacancy, the vacancy shall be filled by a member of the Parish by a vote of two-third (2/3) of the entire Parish Council. Any member of the Parish Council may nominate a member of the Parish for a vacancy.


Article VI


Offices and Duties

Section 6.01. The Pastor shall annually designate at the first meeting of the Parish Council following the annual election of members a President, Vice President and Secretary. The term of each office shall be for one year.

Section 6.02. The duties of the elected officers shall be:

A. The President shall preside over and conduct all meetings; be an ex-officio member of all committees except the Board of Elections; prepare the agenda for each Parish Council meeting; and nominate chairpersons of committees with the approval of the Parish Council members.

B. The Vice President shall assist the President in conducting the meetings, conduct meetings in the absence of the President, and preside over the rules of all regular Council meetings.

C. The Secretary shall record accurate minutes of all Parish Council meetings and transcribe and file complete sets of minutes; maintain an official list of the members of the Parish Council; and keep an accurate record of the attendance of the members at all meetings of the Parish Council.

Section 6.03. An Executive Committee shall be established consisting of the Pastor, President, Vice President and Secretary. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Parish Council and shall have such other powers and duties as may be delegated to it by the Council.


Article VII


Operations of the Parish Council


Section 7.01. All questions and matters considered by the Parish Council shall be determined, except as otherwise herein provided, by a majority of the eligible votes cast at any duly convened meeting of the Parish Council.

Section 7.02. Except for questions and matters considered pursuant to Sections 5.03, 5.04, 11.02 and 12.03, only elected members of the Parish Council shall be eligible to vote.


Section 7.03. Each member eligible to vote on a question or matter shall have one vote.


Article VIII


Parish Council Meetings


Section 8.01. The Parish Council shall hold regular monthly meetings during the months of September through June. The meetings shall be closed to the Parish and considered working sessions. The Council shall set forth in its By-Laws a procedure by which a parishioner may be permitted to bring a matter before the Council.


Section 8.02. Special meetings may be called by the President when he or she deems necessary or when requested to do so by the Pastor. Notice of seventy-two (72) hours prior to such special meeting shall be given to all members of the Parish Council. Such notice requirement may be waived by a simple majority of the elected members of the Parish Council.


Section 8.03. A simple majority of the total membership of the Parish Council shall constitute a quorum for purposes of holding a meeting. A simple majority of the elected members of the Parish Council shall be required to conduct a vote at any meeting of the Parish Council.


Section 8.04. Minutes of the Council meetings shall be made available to all members of the Council.


Article IX




Section 9.01. The Parish Council may designate committees including, without limitation, the following:


A. Buildings & Grounds

B. Communications

C. Stewardship and Fundraising

D. Outreach

E. Religious Education

F. Respect Life

G. Youth Group


Section 9.02. Committees may be established by the Council at any time the Council deems necessary.


Article X




Section 10.01. Annually, during the months of June - October , elections or appointments to fill all vacancies on the Parish Council.

Section 10.02. A Board of Electors shall be elected by the Parish Council consisting of the Vice President as Chairperson and two members of the Parish to act as the members of the Committee.

Section 10.03. All members of families registered in the Parish prior to the date of the election who have reached the age of eighteen (18) years are eligible to vote.

Section 10.04. The Parish Council shall adopt in their By-Laws further rules for the nomination and election of the Council membership.


Article XI




Section 11.01. The Parish Council may enact any By-Laws which they deem necessary for the proper functioning and procedure, or which may be necessary to carry out the Articles of this Constitution as long as such By-Laws are not in contradiction to this Constitution.

Section 11.02. All changes or amendments to the By-Laws must be approved by a majority of the entire Parish Council.


Article XII




Section 12.01. A proposal for amendment to the Constitution must be supported by at least three members of the Parish Council.

Section 12.02. Any member of the Parish may propose amendments to the Constitution, in writing, together with a petition for their enactment signed by one hundred (100) eligible members of the Parish.

Section 12.03. Approval of all amendments to the Constitution must be by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the entire Council.


Article XIII



Section 13.01. This Constitution and amendments thereto and all such additions, deletions and changes thereof must be ratified by a majority of votes cast by the registered members of the parish of St. John & St. Mary at the next annual election following such approval by the Parish Council.




Article I


Annual Election of Council


Section 1.01: Annually, during the month of June, an election shall be held to fill all vacancies on the Parish Council..

Section 1.02: The Vice President of the Parish Council shall serve as Chairperson of the Committee on Elections. Additional members of the Parish Council shall be designated to assist in the nominations of candidates and the election of new members.

Section 1.03 All members of families registered in the Parish prior to the date of elections who have reached the age of 18 years are eligible to vote.

Section 1.04: Nominations of candidates shall begin four (4) weeks prior to the election. Nomination ballots shall include the name and contact number for each nominee. Each ballot is placed in a ballot box in either the Upper or Lower Church. Nominations run over two consecutive weekends ending after the last Mass on the second Sunday.

Section 1.05: Nominees shall be contacted by the Elections Committee and deemed eligible if they meet eligibility requirements and consent to be candidates.

Section 1.06 Candidates shall submit a photograph and short biographies to the Election Committee to be printed in a booklet, prepared by the Committee, and given to the Parish Office no later than Wednesday of the week prior to the election.

Section 1.07 The Parish Office shall place the printed booklets in both the Upper and Lower churches before Saturday’s vigil Mass on the weekend prior to the election.

Section 1.08: The Election Committee shall prepare a ballot with the names of candidates in alphabetical order. Each ballot will identify the number of vacancies needed to be filled. Designated members from the Election Committee shall poll each Mass, validate voters by checking the parish registry, hand out ballots, and collect them in the election box. The box is handed to an Election Committee member after eachMass.

Section 1.09: Once the voting is completed after the final Mass on the election day, all ballots shall be collected by the Committee and counted. Votes shall be tallied from valid ballots. If a ballot has been marked with more than the votes required, it is declared invalid and discarded. If, however, a ballot is marked with less than the required votes, it is still valid. Votes shall be recounted where tallies are close, at the discretion of the Election Committee.

Section 1.10: Once the votes have been tallied and the election has been decided, the Vice President shall contact each of the candidates to advise them of the results. The Vice President then shall notify the Parish Council of the newly elected members.


Article II


Order of Business


Section 2.01. The order of business at all regularly scheduled meetings of the Parish Council shall be as follows:


A. Opening Prayer

B. Consideration of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting

C. President’s Report

D. Pastor’s Report

E. Report of Committees

F. Unfinished Business

G. New Business

H. Closing Prayer


Any questions as to priority of business shall be decided by the President without debate.


The order of business may be altered or suspended at any meeting by a majority vote of the membership present.


Section 2.02. The President shall have prepared for each regular monthly meeting an agenda of matters of unfinished business and new business to be considered.


Section 2.03. Any parishioner desiring to bring a matter before the Parish Council shall present such matter, in writing, to the President of the Council. The parishioner may then appear before the Council at a regularly scheduled meeting to be determined by the Parish Council where said matter will be presented. If the President shall deem it necessary, a member of the Council shall be appointed to review the matter and prepare a report for consideration at the next meeting of the Council.


Section 2.04. In accordance with Section 201.4e of the Financial Policies and Procedures Manual, Archdiocese of New York, July 11, 2005, the Parish Finance Council shall provide the Parish Council with at least semi-annual reports on the financial status of the Parish, which one such report being after the end of the fiscal year and prior to the annual financial report to parishioners.


Article III



Section 3.01. At the first meeting of the Parish Council following the annual election, the Pastor shall appoint one of the elected members to serve on the Outreach Committee and be a liaison between the Parish Council and Outreach Committee.


Section 3.02. At the first meeting of the Parish Council following the annual election, the Pastor shall appoint one of the elected members to serve on the Chappaqua Interfaith Council and be a liaison between the Parish Council and the Chappaqua Interfaith Council.

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