Archbishop Charles Chaput has instituted a mostly-lay and highly diversified Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC) which met with him for the first time Feb. 25. Although similar pastoral councils have been in place in the parishes, this is the first time there has been a similar archdiocesan council.

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, which is similar to the council Archbishop Chaput instituted in the Archdiocese of Denver, follows norms recommended, but not mandated, by Canons 511-514 of the Code of Canon Law.

Canon 511 states, “In each diocese, to the extent that pastoral circumstances recommend it, a pastoral council is to be established whose responsibility it is to investigate under the authority of the bishop all things which pertain to pastoral works, to ponder them and to propose practical conclusions about them.”

As is the case with all archdiocesan councils, the APC is advisory in nature and all of its recommendations are subject to the approval of the Archbishop, who attends its meetings.

There are 26 voting members including one member chosen from each of the 12 deaneries of the Archdiocese to assure diversity, although on the council they act as individuals, not representatives of their deanery.

Among the remaining 14 at-large members are one priest, one deacon, one religious, one young adult, as well as some members chosen to assure further diversity.

There are also four nonvoting ex-officio diocesan officials on the council including Bishop Timothy C. Senior (Moderator of the Curia), Msgr. Daniel Sullivan (Vicar for the Clergy), Francis X. Maier (Special Assistant to the Archbishop) and as of April 16 Timothy O’Shaughnessy (Chief Financial Officer).

In his weekly column to the faithful of the Archdiocese dated March 21 and posted to, Archbishop Chaput explained that most of the members are laypeople from every walk of life and region of the Archdiocese.

“This makes sense, since the Church is overwhelmingly in her membership and especially today – laypeople must play a vital role in advancing the work of the Gospel,” he explained.

“I select APC members from candidates nominated by their pastors through the local deaneries. I also reserve a number of at-large appointments to myself to ensure a balance in gender, age, ethnicity and experience.”

“I was honored when the Archbishop appointed me to the council,” said Jorge Ignacio Fernandez, a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Buckingham. “I was extremely impressed with all of my fellow Catholics who were involved, and the level of interest they have in this. We have a great leader who wants to get everyone involved.”

Service on the council “follows four simple rules,” the Archbishop wrote: fidelity to Catholic teaching; charity; mutual respect; and candor. Members do not “represent” any constituency but themselves.

“Their great value to the bishop lies in bringing their personal life experience to the honest discussion of pastoral issued facing our Church,” the archbishop wrote.

Michael Yasick, a member of St. Elizabeth Parish in Upper Uwchlan, thought the first meeting was refreshing.

“I enjoyed meeting the Archbishop,” he said, “and I’m hopeful we can help him and fulfill our evangelical mission. Everybody felt this was an opportunity to do a better job of reaching out to Catholics. There was a feeling of transparency and openness that is really impressive. I think God put the Archbishop here for a purpose.”

Tonya Banks, a member of St. Cyprian Parish in Philadelphia, was also impressed by the process through which the council was formed and its goals. “It’s about building up and strengthening the Church, and I’m happy to be aboard,” she said. The meeting was very forthcoming and informative. The Archbishop is not about the ‘I’; he’s about the ‘we.’’’

Future meetings of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council this year have been set for May 5, Sept. 8 and Dec. 15.


Voting members of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council:

Edward “Jody” Arena St. Cyprian Parish, Philadelphia; Deanery 2
Tonya Banks St. Cyprian Parish, Philadelphia; At Large
Bernadette Brooks St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Media; At Large
Dr. James M. Callahan St. Matthias Parish, Bala Cynwyd; Deanery 6
Sarah Cardie St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Springfield; Young Adult
Dennis Carey St. Francis de Sales Parish, Philadelphia; At Large
Dawn Chism St. Francis De Sales Parish, Philadelphia; Deanery 9
Bernard Cory St. Anselm Parish, Philadelphia; Deanery 11
Laura Endara-Manteilla Maternity B.V.M. Parish, Philadelphia; At Large
Cynthia Fedele Mater Dolorosa Parish, Philadelphia; Deanery 12
Jorge Ignacio Fernandez Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Buckingham; At Large
Deacon Dennis J. Friel Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, Philadelphia; Deacon Representative
Ann D. Giunta St. Agnes Parish, West Chester; Deanery 3
Barbara Inforzato, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Philadelphia; Deanery 8
Marie Joseph St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish, Yardley; At Large
Connie McCalla St. Raymond Parish, Philadelphia; Deanery 7
Sister Anne Patricia Myers, S.S.J. Congregational President, Sisters of St. Joseph
Rocco Palmo Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Philadelphia; At Large
Michael Shank SS. Philip and James Parish, Exton; Deanery 4
Maria Stumpf Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Parish, North Wales; Deanery 5
Msgr. Joseph T. Trinh Pastor, St. Helena Parish, Philadelphia; Priest Representative
Andrew Vu St. Helena Parish, Philadelphia; At Large
Mary Beth Walsh St. Bernadette Parish, Drexel Hill; Deanery 1
Damian Wargo St. Madeleine Sophie Parish, Philadelphia; At Large
Ronald Watson  St. John the Baptist Parish; Ottsville; Deanery 10
Michael Yasick St. Elizabeth Parish, Upper Uwchlan, At Large