The parish pastoral council is a consultative body which provides input, suggestions and feedback to the pastor on the various aspects of the spiritual life of the parish. The council meets monthly on the third Monday of the month. Meetings are held at 7:30pm in the rectory meeting room. (Meetings are usually not held during the summer months unless an urgent need arises.)
Since its inception in 1992, all pastoral council had been appointed by the pastor. Starting in 1999, a members nomination and election process was put into place. The council consists of 12 members of which 6 are elected and 6 are appointed. Members serve a 3 year term and can only serve two consecutive terms. Each year, two new members are elected and two new members are appointed.
Nominations are solicited from the parishioners. An orientation session is then held with the nominees to familiarize them with the activities of the council. An election ballot containing the names of those nominees who are interested in serving on the council is then mailed to all the adult parishioners. New members join the council at the September meeting.
The parish pastoral council was organized by Rev. Cyril Ponisciak in August 1992. Parish Pastoral councils were established in all parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at that time. Training of the coordinating committee took place in early 1993 and the council began its work in ernest in April 1993. The first task of the council was to define the parish mission. This process resulted in the parish Mission Statement, which was completed in April 1994.
Following the creation of the mission statement, a parish self study was undertaken in April 1994. Results of self study reviewed and a Parish Pastoral Plan was published in May 1995.
The Mission Statement and Parish Pastoral Plan were officially presented to the parish in October 1995. A Special Mass of Celebration was held at that time with Msgr. James T. McDonough, Regional Vicar for Chester County as the main celebrant. A brunch and meeting of the pastoral council was held following the Mass. The Plan was reviewed with the Vicar at this time.
In addition to the Catholic school, St. Joseph's also holds religious education programs (CCD) for elementary school students. Classes are open to children in grades K thru 8. A pre-kindergarten class in also held for children starting at age 4. Classes are held on Sunday mornings from 9:15am until 10:15am in the school.
Sacramental preparation is held in conjunction with the CCD program. Children in grade 2 receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist each May. Confirmation is currently held every three years.
Among the most the vital of our responsibilities as a community of faith, is sharing in worship with one another. During the Mass, all parishioners are invited to participate and join in singing. All hymns are located in either the missalette or the music issue.
We also have two choirs at St. Joseph's and new members are always welcome. The choirs sing at the regular Masses as well as special Masses during Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter. Rehearsals for both choirs begin after Labor Day and continue through Easter. Choir membership is open, there are no tryouts and you don't need to be able to read music. If you are thinking of joining, September and January are the best times.
The role of the cantor in the celebration of the Eucharist is to encourage, lead and support the assembly in its rightful role as active participants in the hymns, sung responses and acclamations of the Mass. With certain exceptions (such as the chanting of the verse portions of the Responsorial Psalm, or the Gospel verse), the role of the cantor in Catholic liturgy is not that of a soloist.
Since the cantor's ministerial function is one which enables and encourages the assembly to engage more fully in its proper role as co-celebrants of the Mass, it is only necessary for a prospective cantor to possess a reliable, solid voice rather than a trained or beautiful voice. If you are interested in becoming a cantor at St. Joseph's, please contact the music director.