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As stated in Canon 532, the Pastor represents the Parish in all juridic matters. He is the person ultimately responsible and accountable in ordinary matters for all spiritual and financial actions of the Parish.

However, as stated in Canon 1287, §2, “all...Administrators are to render an account to the faithful concerning the goods offered by the faithful to the Church...”


Canon 537 states, each Parish must have a Finance Council, and its authority, its policies, and its procedures, are regulated by norms “...issued by the diocesan bishop...”.


The following are the policies and procedures issued by the Archbishop of Santa Fe, after consultation with his Presbyteral Council and Archdiocesan Finance Council:


Any exceptions to these policies are to be approved by the Archdiocesan Chancellor. These requests would normally be in writing.


I. Confidentiality


Members of the Parish Finance Council are to exercise prudent judgment with regard to the confidentiality of any church (or school) financial records to which they may have access. Failure to observe this requirement, in the opinion of the Pastor, would result in immediate termination of membership on the Finance Council.


II. Membership

A. The Parish Finance Council must have at least three members (and ordinarily not more than seven) freely appointed

     by the Pastor. Appointments, are to be for a term of three years. Initially, the terms are to be staggered to provide

     continuity. These appointments are to be recorded in the minutes. During his or her term of office, a member may be

     replaced, at the discretion of the Pastor, for any just cause. No member may serve more than three consecutive


(January 2001)

     Members of the Parish Finance Council may not serve simultaneously on the Parish Pastoral Council. It is

     recommended, however, that one member of the Parish Finance Council be designated as a liaison to the Parish

     Pastoral Council.

     When there is a change in pastor, the existing finance committee members may serve six additional months, after the

     effective date of the appointment. This would give the pastor time to determine which members, if any, he wishes to

     ask to continue.


B. Membership requires:

1) being a practicing Catholic and a member in good standing of the Parish.

2) having expertise in regard to temporalities, (e.g. finance, accounting, management, law, etc.).

3) being endowed with an overall knowledge of parish life and a sensitivity to pastoral values.

4) being free from any conflicts of interest arising from his or her occupation, or relationship to the Pastor; or any

     condition in which membership in the Council might be perceived to bring an inappropriate benefit to the individual.

C. Officers of the Parish Finance Council

1) The Pastor will appoint or the members of the Council will elect annually a Chair to preside over all meetings, as

     well as a Vice-Chair to preside in the absence of the Chair, and a Secretary to be responsible for recording and

     maintaining minutes for each meeting of the Council. Copies of the minutes are to be maintained in the Parish office.

     Paid staff persons may be members of the Council but cannot vote.

2) Because the Council is advisory to the Pastor, the Pastor is not a member of the Council and does not have a vote. At

     his discretion, he may choose not to accept the advice of the Parish Finance Council. If he does so, he should explain

     his reasoning to the Council. The Pastor must be present at all meetings.

3) Each year in July a list of members and officers is to be sent to the Office of the Archdiocesan Director of Finance.

(January 2001)

III. Duties


A. The Pastor must consult with the Parish Finance Council prior to committing to any extraordinary expenditure in

     excess of $5,000 for small and medium parishes and $10,000 for large parishes. Extraordinary expenditures relate to

     nonbudgeted expenditures, construction projects, real estate and property lease issues, and fundraising efforts. In

     emergency situations, the Pastor may wish to call a special Parish Finance Council meeting for immediate

     consultation or decide to provide for the expenditure as needed.

     The Pastor and the Parish Finance council must seek the prior approval of the Archdiocese for any extraordinary

     expenditure as defined above in excess of $10,000 for small and $20,000 for medium parishes and large parishes. All

     real estate and property lease issues and proposed changes to the sanctuary must be approved by the Archbishop.

     Replacement type purchases such as for a vehicle or furnishings do not have to be approved by the Archdiocese

     unless the purchase requires a loan or significantly diminishes the parishes financial capability. For purposes of the

     above, the size of a parish is based on its annual Sunday and Holy Day collection (both envelope and loose) as


     Large parish        Annual Collections greater than $400,000
     Medium parish   Annual Collections greater than $ 150,000
                                     to $400,000
     Small parish        Annual Collections to $ 150,000

     Any gifts or contributions greater than $5,000 to a non-archdiocesan entity requires the permission of the


B. The Pastor should consult with the Parish Finance Council when faced with expenditures which exceed the approved

     total budget by 10%. No budget changes to the original budget should be made during the year.

C. The Pastor must seek the advice and counsel of the Parish Finance Council to buy or sell any property which requires

     the permission of the Archbishop.

D. The Parish Finance Council has a collaborative role in the preparation and review of the annual Parish budget. It

     should also give its approval to the Parish School’s budget, if the Parish operates a school.

E. The Parish Finance Council is responsible for the preparation and publication of an annual Financial Report to the

     faithful. Such a report is to be in the Parish bulletin and a report to the Archbishop, as required by Canon 1287, §2.

     The Annual Report must be certified by the Pastor and by the Parish Finance Chairperson on behalf of the Parish

     Finance Council. This may be done by

(December 2005)

     providing each signature in the annual report. It is expected that this report will be published within 120 days after

     the end of the Parish Fiscal Year (June 30).

F. The following matters are generally the purview of the Parish Finance Council; many of them are covered in

    significant detail elsewhere in the Parish Administrative Manual.

•    Budgets
•    Financial Reports
•    Construction Projects
•    Bank accounts and their balances
•    Cash flows and accounts payable
•    Payroll tax reports
•    Fundraising
•    Internal Controls (including the proper handling of the Sunday collection)
•    Annual Catholic Appeal
•    Other related matters deemed appropriate


The Pastor, after consulting with the Parish Finance Council, may deem it appropriate to refer some of these matters to committees formed to assist him in specific tasks relative to administering the Parish. If such committees are formed, minutes of meetings should be maintained in the parish office of their meetings. If finances are involved, these minutes must be reviewed by the Parish Finance

IV. Meetings

A. The Finance Council must meet as needed, ordinarily monthly, but at least quarterly. Generally these meetings will

     include, at least, a review of receipts and expenses, cash on hand, bank accounts, outstanding liabilities, i.e. monthly

     financial reports.

B. The Parish Finance Council has the right to conduct its meetings, or any part of them, in executive session when

     matters necessitate it.

V. Dispute Resolution

A. There may be occasions when a dispute occurs between the Pastor and the Parish Finance Council. In any such

     conflict, an effort must first be made to resolve the issue in a spirit of fairness and justice. If a conflict is not

     resolved, then the Pastor and/or the Parish Finance Council Chairperson may, in writing, notify and seek assistance

     from the Archdiocesan Director of Finance or the Chancellor.

(December 2005)

VI. Compliance


A. All members of the Parish Finance Council, as well as the Pastor, are obliged to familiarize themselves with

     Archdiocesan policies and procedures concerning Parish Finance Councils. 

     In order to ensure this familiarity, all new Pastors, members of Parish Finance Councils, as well as Parish staff

     members concerned with finances, will be required to attend educational seminars appropriate to their separate

     duties and responsibilities provided by the Finance Division of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. These seminars will be

     provided at least once a year, or whenever sufficient need for training exists in the Parishes.

B. The Pastor in collaboration with the Parish Finance Council has responsibility to see to it that these policies and

     guidelines are implemented.

C. The Pastor must require a compliance review with these policies and procedures performed by the Archdiocese.

1) Effective January 1, 2001, parishes and schools are to have a compliance review performed every three years.


2) Any parish must be reviewed at the time of a change of Pastor, unless there has been a regularly scheduled review

     completed within the 6 months prior to the departure of the outgoing Pastor.


3) St. Pius X High School will have an annual certified audit prepared by a Public Accounting firm. A copy of this report

     will be furnished to the Archdiocesan Finance Council.


4) Extraordinary reviews will take place:

     a. Annually until compliance is adhered to in the event that a prior year compliance review discloses significant

          issues of non-compliance, as defined by the Director of Finance or the Chancellor.

(January 2001)

     b. In the event special circumstances arise with the consent of the Director of Finance or the Chancellor. The spirit of

         this process shall be to educate and render assistance. Should the compliance review disclose serious wrong

         doing, action may be referred to the Archbishop of Santa Fe, who may order further investigations and finding of


5) Costs: The Archdiocesan Director of Finance will make every effort to minimize the financial burden of the

     compliance reviews on the individual Parish or school, through whatever means are available. However, it is believed

     that accountability to the faithful for temporal assets is a prime responsibility of each Pastor with the assistance of

     the Parish Finance Council. It is therefore expected that each Parish will comply with these compliance reviews.

     As to the costs:

     The Archdiocesan Office of Finance will define the scope of each compliance review and inform the pastor of the     



     Parishes will be asked to pay the Archdiocese a fee per entity per review to defray the cost as follows:


            Small parish or school         $ 1,000
            Medium parish or school    $ 2,000
            Large parish or school         $ 2,500

        See Page 3 this section for the definition on parish size.

        Should any Parish/School feel unable to meet this expense, the Archdiocesan Director of Finance is authorized to

        subsidize that Parish/School as necessary, upon receipt of a written request from the Pastor.

(October 1997)

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