Parish Organization and Lay Leadership » Parish Organization

Parish Organization

Lay Leadership and Parish Organization
Each day of our lives we operate out of a vision of life.  We know that the alternative is to wander the hallways of our years without a purpose or a focus. 

Our parish is a living body.  We too operate out of a vision of life.  This vision comes from the Gospel and the teachings of our Church.  While these are a gift and a direction for us, we must insure that this gift is lived in the specific challenges and opportunities of American Martyrs.

Recognizing that we are all called by our baptism to share in Christ’s mission, we actively foster a culture of lay-leadership, seeking to engage and connect as many parishioners as possible as leaders in our parish life.


Archdiocese of Los Angeles
American Martyrs is one of 288 parishes of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, under the leadership of Archbishop José Gomez.

The Archdiocese encompasses three counties - Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara and consists of  five pastoral regions. It covers 8,762 square miles (22,430 square kilometers) of territory. The total Roman Catholic population, as of 2005, stands at 4,349,267 people living among a total population of 11,258,600. There are 288 parishes located in 120 cities throughout the Archdiocese in the three counties. There are seven missions and chapels and nine Eastern Catholic churches. In all, there are a total of 225 Catholic elementary schools serving some 65,000 students, while there are 53 Catholic high schools with about 30,000 students enrolled. Together they comprise one of the three largest school systems in California in either the public or private sector.

American Martyrs is one of 67 parishes in the San Pedro Pastoral Region under the leadership of Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis.


American Martyrs Parish
Finance Council
Canon Law mandates a parish finance council in each parish. The role of the parish finance council is to assist the pastor and parish staff in planning the budget and in overseeing and controlling the financial affairs of the parish including the schools. The parish finance council is accountable to the pastor who has the responsibility for final decisions but the pastor gives serious consideration to their recommendations.

Pastoral Council
The Pastoral Council is the chief advisory body to the Pastor for parish planning.  It provides vision and direction to the parish as well as counsel, advice and support to the Pastor.  The Council is composed of:  a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Past-President; Members-at-Large who represent the views of the parish at large; a Finance Council representative; a representative of the School; a representative from each Parish Life Commission; and the Pastor and Parish Business Manager serving ex officio. Members-at-Large are drawn from the active members of the parish and are ordinarily selected through a collaborative discernment process with the Pastor and serve a term of three years. 

Parish Life Commissions
The Pastoral Council uses Commissions to organize the parish ministries and to facilitate the development, review, revision and implementation of the goals and objectives of the Parish Five Year Plan.  All parish ministries are assigned to one of the following five Commissions:
Each Commission has adopted a Charter explaining its purpose and function. Members are selected by the Commission in consultation with the Pastor and in collaboration with the Pastoral Council and generally serve for a term of three years. Each commission is assigned a lay staff liaison to assist it.  

The Commissions lend direction to the ministries in their area of parish life and support the ministries in achieving their goals and carrying out their objectives. The role of each Commission is to:
  • Envision and set goals and objectives for the future of the parish within its particular facet of ministry, regularly reviewing and updating the goals and objective set forth in the parish Five-Year Plan
  • Create subcommittees to accomplish specific goals and objectives of the Commission
  • Collaborate with the ministries associated with the Commission’s area of parish-life and assist the ministries to establish and accomplish their own goals and objectives
  • Facilitate communication between the ministries and the Pastoral Council
  • Review applications for new ministries and make recommendations to the Pastoral Council regarding their approval