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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.


Bishop of Albany
Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger

Ex Officio Membership

Director, Office of Pastoral Planning
Deacon Frank Berning

Elizabeth Simcoe

Director, Office of Ministry Formation/Administrator for the Council
David Amico

Appointed Membership

Parish Life Director Representative
Lynn O’Rourke

Young Adult Representative

Deacon Representative
Deacon Warren Safford

Youth Representative

Deanery Representatives

Albany City Deanery
Sr. Judith Knapp, R.S.M.

Albany Suburban Deanery
Robert Conway

N. Albany/ N. Rensselaer Deanery

Northern Albany

Barbara Nash

Northern Rensselaer
Dr. James DeBonis

Columbia County Deanery

Delaware/Otsego/Schoharie Deanery

Delaware County
Charlene Caramore

Otsego County
Carole Barry

Schoharie County
Francine Apollo

Fulton/Montgomery Deanery

Fulton County
Adreinne S. Frank

Montgomery County
Delores Dybas

Greene County Deanery
Eugene Hatton

Herkimer County Deanery

Saratoga County Deanery

Schenectady County Deanery
Toni LaFond

Southern Rensselaer Deanery
Marisa Donovan

Warren/Washington Deanery

Warren County:

Washington County
Arunas Budnikas

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.