Office of Pastoral Planning
Diocesan Pastoral Council

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Who established the need for a Pastoral Council?

What is the Diocesan Pastoral Council?

Who serves on the Diocesan Pastoral Council?

What does the Diocesan Pastoral Council Do?

Meeting Minutes


Mission Statement

The Pastoral Council of the Diocese of Albany, called by diverse faith communities and appointed by the Bishop, considers pastoral works and develops supportive pastoral initiatives.  Through prayerful discernment and mutually respectful exchange, we collaborate with the Bishop, give voice to the aspirations and concerns of our communities, and share with them the vision of our Diocese.


Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany

Ex Officio Membership

Deacon Frank Berning
Director, Pastoral Planning

Elizabeth Simcoe

Roslyn Webber
Administrator for the Council

Appointed Membership

Lynn O’Rourke Parish Life Director Representative

Young Adult Representative - TBA

Deacon Warren Safford
Deacon Representative

Matthew Rucinski
Youth Representative


Vicariate Representatives

Marjorie Carroll
Dr. Vincent Palacino, Jr. 
John Shafer

Sr. Judith Kapp, R.S.M.
Robert Conway

Hudson Valley
Brian Goodrich
Eugene Hatton

Charlene Caramore
Carole Barry
Francine Apollo

Mohawk Valley
Adrienne S. Frank
Dolores Dybas

Barbara Nash
Dr. James DeBonis
Jane Forgét

Twin Rivers
Toni LaFond

The Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church (Christus Dominus) approved by Vatican Council II encourages the establishment of diocesan pastoral councils.

  • The Pastoral Council of the Diocese of Albany was established in 1971 in accordance with Canon Law.

What is the Diocesan Pastoral Council?

The Diocesan Pastoral Council [DPC] is an advisory group that collaborates with the Bishop to offer support and to help clarify a vision for the diocese. It fulfills its mission through prayer, study, reflection and dialogue. Convening five times a year, the council is a channel of communication between the deaneries and the Bishop.

Who serves on the Diocesan Pastoral Council?

The Diocesan Pastoral Council is composed of laity, religious and clergy.
Current membership includes:

  • The Bishop of Albany
  • Deanery Representatives: One lay representative selected in consultation with the local leadership and appointed by the Bishop, from each deanery of the diocese. However, where a deanery includes two counties, there is generally a representative from each county.
  • Ex-officio Members: Chancellor for Pastoral Services; Director of Pastoral Planning; and the Administrator for the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
  • Appointed Membership: Parish Life Director Representative, Deacon Representative, Young Adult Representative, and Representatives from the diocesan Youth Ministry Team.

What does the Diocesan Pastoral Council Do?

A key responsibility of the Diocesan Pastoral Council membership is to provide and maintain a communication link between the Bishop, diocesan departments, and individual parish pastoral councils. In addition, members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council:

  • collaborate with the Bishop so that pastoral activity can more effectively meet the needs of the people.
  • work with the dean and the local deanery to better serve the local faith community.
  • serve as one of the key co-sponsors of the Autumn Diocesan Gathering (formerly called the Parish Convening).
  • represent the DPC on diocesan committees as requested by the Bishop.
  • foster and promote their own spiritual growth and that of their constituents.