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Frequently referred to as simply the Parish Council, our Parish Pastoral Council’s primary functions are to serve the Catholic Church of St. Mark community and to provide prayerful, considered advice to our Pastor, who is the church’s leader and spiritual Shepard in all matters. 


The council’s role should not be confused with a local municipality’s elected council.  Ours is a three part advisory role on pastoral matters, wherein we are called to investigate, reflect and deliberate, and provide recommendations to the Pastor.


In its directive, "Called to Serve", The Diocese of Richmond provides guidance on the formation, responsibilities and duties of our parish council.   The council’s responsibility is to Learn about the parish community, Discern its faith life and Help all to respond to needs as they identify those who are materially and spiritually impoverished, those who are oppressed and neglected.


The Bishop’s guidance states the council’s primary role is advisory, making recommendations to the pastor about the parish’s spiritual well-being.  The council does not run the parish or supervise its daily work; that is the pastor’s responsibility.  The council must be a visionary group, concerning itself with where the parish wants to be in three to five years and not with the administrative aspects of running the parish. The council must be prophetic, calling the community and its leaders to grow in faith together and to respond to the needs of the people.

We state in our Parish Council constitution that the council helps the pastor to evaluate and formulate policy, plans and activities that meet our parishioner’s pastoral needs, and with a focus on our Parish mission statement, allows the community to act and grow in response to the gospel.

The council serves on behalf of the parish community and is therefore charged with listening to parishioners concerns by encouraging and engaging in open communication with the entire community.  The council functions in an environment of thoughtful discernment, and as a group must act in a collaborative manner within itself, and when working with other parish committees and groups.


All registered, active and worshipping lay members of the Parish are eligible to serve on the Parish Council.  The council is comprised of At-large members serving a three consecutive year term, and the chairpersons from each of our four ministries’ standing committees. The four minmistries' standing committees are Religious Formation, Parish Life, Justice and Peace, and Liturgy.

The pastor is the council’s President and exercises final authority over all matters before the council. He is supported by the Council Leadership Team comprised of the Council Chair, Vice Chair and At-Large Representative.

Leadership team members are elected annually by the council.  Additional council administrative positions include Recording Secretary, Faith and Prayer Coordinator and Mass Scheduler.


Remarks from the Chair of Parish Council 

  As your parish council chairperson, I have the privilege of working with twelve very talented fellow parishioners in discerning and recommending to the pastor our vision for the future here at St. Mark. As we look ahead, it is also fitting that we look back and reflect upon what we have accomplished together.

  First, I want to say thank you to each of you for the many gifts of your time, your talent and your treasure. Without these generous contributions, much of what makes St. Mark our wonderful spiritual home would not be possible. The impact of so many ministries within and so far beyond our walls is a testimony to a community that is indeed rooted in the Word, nourished by the sacraments, and seeking to bring about the kingdom by imaging Jesus Christ.

To share a just few highlights from our ministry areas:

  Each weekend parishioners volunteer as altar servers, lectors, EM, ushers and information ministers as we gather for Mass, the source and summit of what we do as Catholics. Other activities include the ongoing Eucharistic revival, small faith groups i.e., Baron Mass, Pilgrimage to Basilica of Immaculate Conception in DC, recent adult formation on the Mass.

  Our Music Ministers, musicians and choir spend time behind the scenes in rehearsal in order to enhance our worship experience. Many others also go unseen taking care of linens, decorating, taking care of the plants and cleaning.

  Our catechists pass down our faith to our elementary and middle school children. They prepare our high schoolers for the sacrament of Confirmation. They serve as the team facilitating the RCIA process with catechumens and candidates inquiring about our Catholic faith. Let us not forget youth group and adult education opportunities, VBS and the pilgrimage to world youth day.

  Where food and fun are involved, Parish Life is there supporting over a dozen annual social events, lenten soup suppers, the Easter Vigil and Lessons and Carols receptions, easter egg hunt, young adults, mom’s group, Wisdom Seekers, Sunday hospitality Trunk or Treat, just to name a few. On the serious side, Parish Life also supports visits by Bishop Knestout for events like Fr Eric’s installation and the Bishops Appeal dinner, as well as funeral receptions, and Samaritan meals.

  Within Justice & Peace Ministry there are 16 sub areas. While these are too many to discuss I will let some of the numbers speak for themselves :

 -Food Pantry fed 3,244 Adults 2,033 Children 1,576 Families 1,841 Food Bags 3,000 Snack Bags -Holiday Giving Thanksgiving 288 gift cards, Christmas 704 food\gift cards, plus over 350 toys.

  If you are the sort who doesn’t mind getting your hands dirty, gardeners weed, mulch, put in seasonal plants around the church many assist with the maintenance, aesthetics and improvement of the parish's buildings, grounds and gardens. We even sponsored an Eagle Scout project path and meditation area.

  Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention our brother knights. While not a formal parish ministry, their membership works behind all of the ministries I have mentioned. They are also the organizers and supporters of the pumpkin patch and Christmas trees and they work in direct support of special projects for Fr Eric.

  Many centuries ago, a young man received an invitation directly from God “Rebuilt my Church”. At first the man thought that God was referring to the local village church which was in a bad state of repair. Today, as this invitation has continued down through the centuries, we know that God’s invitation to Francis, and to us, is not only about the physical church as important as that is, but so much more the church in the wider sense. For everyone currently in ministry I again sincerely thank you. If you have been thinking about ministry but have not done so, I extend an invitation from the heart to prayerfully consider anew where you might be called to serve. Each of us is called to be an evangelist in some way. By tradition when St Francis’ followers asked what they should do, he replied: “ Preach the gospel at all times; use words when necessary.” Thank you for all you continue to do and I invite you to preach the gospel using words when necessary. God bless you.


Fr. Eric Baffour Asamoah  
Hank Harzold - Parish Pastoral Council ChairSteve SchlossbergDeacon John KrenRicky AndradeDave Fritsch
Michael KingDeacon Mike Johnson - LiturgyJoyce Gridley - Justice and Peace Committee ChairFe Guzman - Religious FormationLinda Major - Parish Life Chair


Parish Council Meeting Minutes