Parish Council

Each of our parishes is part of a larger whole, the communion of the Archdiocese of Detroit, which, in turn, is part of the Church Universal.  The Archdiocese is composed of over 300 parishes and missions, each with its own unique history.  Our parishes are as diverse as the very physical surroundings in which they are located. Ultimately, our parishes find their center and purpose in the Eucharistic communion, where we have the highest and fullest expression of our identity as a communion of faith.  

The Parish Council encourages and enables the sharing of gifts and resources so that we will be able to hear and proclaim the Gospel, worship and reach out to the community in service.  It is a means and an avenue of coordinating our mission in the areas of education, service, stewardship and worship.

The Parish Council is a consultative body to the Pastor and the coordinating and unifying structure of the parish communion.  It is the means by which the church community achieves the full participation of the whole parish in its mission to give a voice of support, guidance and direction to the various aspects of parish life.  It gathers together the visions, hopes and needs of the faithful, reflects until a consensus is reached and translates this consensus into parish planning through the establishment of goals and objectives.  The Council sees that these goals and objectives are implemented by the parish commissions and committees and evaluates results annually.

The role of the Parish Council is to be sensitive to the movement of the spirit among God's people, to work for a unified vision or general consensus among its members, and to help the whole parish to meet the challenge of being a church in the modern world.

(Excerpts derived from "Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines" published by the Archdiocese of Detroit)


Members of the Parish Council:


You may contact any of our Parish Council members via email.  On the home page scroll down to staff where you will find each of our parish council members listed.  Click on their name and you will see their information.  If you have any trouble please call the parish, at 248.545.2310, for assistance.



Bill Brown, Vice Chair

From Bill Brown
Let me introduce myself: 
My name is Bill Brown and I've been a parishioner for almost 25 years since making my confirmation at Fatima.  I'm sure many of you have seen me or know me from Saturday services where my wife Lori and I serve two to three times per month.  We've been married for 25 years, have 3 children and 5 1/2 grandchildren.  I have worked at Ford Motor Company for 22 years, Lori and I hope to retire in the next 3-4 years.
I chose to volunteer to serve the Parish council because, I along with many others, believe both parish worship locations need to not just survive but to thrive.  The best way to ensure that continues to progress is to be involved at this level.  I ask for your prayers for God's guidance.


Rich Faba, Chairperson

From Rich Faba
Why did I volunteer to serve on the Parish Council?
I have been a member of Our Lady of Fatima for thirty-six years. My wife and I were married here, our two children were baptized and confirmed here, and my daughter will be married here in October. It has been a wonderful and integral part of our lives and faith for all of this time.
Having recently retired, what better way to give something back to the faith community that has guided me for such a large part of my life? Building on the wonderful work of the past councils that have shepherded the joining of the Fatima and St. James faith communities, each with its own wonderful history and tradition, is a worthwhile challenge. What I hope to bring to the parish council is thoughtful and prayerful respect for the past and a hand to the oar driving for a future that continues to nurture a vibrant and loving faith community.


Nishanthi Jayasundera

From Nishanthi Jayasundera
Why I chose to volunteer for the Parish Council:
I always wanted to do volunteer service. I have participated through work but needed something more close to my life. So one fine day, while I was waiting in the church gathering area to schedule a mass for my father's soul, Catherine came up to me to help me out. After she took care of my mass intention, she told me to read that week's bulletin and consider joining the Parish Council. So, I discussed it with my family and  decided to do so.
I hope to provide the parishioners with necessary information that they would need to know and help them understand the information. Although I have been with the Parish only for about 3 years, I feel like I have been here longer than that. It is amazing how the parishioners greet each other and welcome each other. We adore Fr.Paul.
About myself:
I am from Sri Lanka. I am married and have two wonderful daughters. My husband is a retired Physical Therapist. My elder daughter, Bernadene is a doctor at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor and my younger daughter, Himashi has starting college at DePaul University in Chicago this Fall. I am working as a Relationship Manager in Business Banking at Citizens Bank.


Lauri Palmer, Parish Council Secretary

From Lauri Palmer
My name is Lauri Palmer.  I have been a parishioner at St. James since 1993, a year after my family moved to Ferndale.  Over the years, I along with my husband, son and daughter have felt a deep commitment to our parish through many changes.  We have embraced and felt grateful for the unique community of St. James and Ferndale as well as the merger with Our Lady of Fatima and the evolution of our new parish Our Mother of Perpetual Help.  In the past, I served the St. James parish as a teacher of religious education and a liturgical minister for many years.  Currently I am a liturgical minister and co-coordinator for the 11:00 AM Sunday Mass.
Perhaps service is the word I most identify with.  My decision to volunteer for Parish Council is an extension of this.  My  intention in serving on the Parish Council is to be open to the necessary changes we have experienced and to be part of a unifying group helping to lead us forward as one merged parish.  My hope is that we can continue to grow as a supportive, meaningful and relevant worship community for each other and the world around us.  I encourage open dialogue and invite input from parishioners who welcome me as their “representative” on the council.  I am honored to serve in this capacity.  I am inspired by the commitment of those around me and am grateful to Father Paul for his leadership in this effort. 
Professionally, I am a social worker in a school for students with Autism, work I love with a population that has taught me great lessons.  I have many interests including reading, writing, cooking and riding my bike.


Maripat Ruttan

From Maripat Ruttan
I am one of the new Parish Council members. I live in Ferndale with my husband of 37 years, Darrell. I am originally from Houghton, MI in the upper peninsula.....yup, I make pasties.
I have been a member of the parish for about 4 years. Before that, I sort of bounced around to different churches, never settling and officially joining one. So, about 4 years ago I tried St. James. It really felt like home and I officially joined. Why? For a number of reasons. As everyone knows, Father Paul is absolutely wonderful. I found the parishioners very welcoming, and I love that everyone is involved in the mass..... 3 years ago I became a Eucharistic minister. I'm just learning how everything works, but I will do my best live up to our mission statement and, hopefully, help to keep the church moving forward.
In my opinion, one can never have too many friends. At Our Mother of Perpetual Help I have found more than just friends, I found "family". Thank you.....see you at mass.

Nick Sharkey

From Nick Sharkey
When I was asked to consider joining the Parish Council I immediately knew I would apply. I have enjoyed the spiritual benefits of this parish for 44 years.
My greatest attraction to this parish is its commitment to serving the poor as we witness Father Paul’s example. Over the years I learned that the stain glass windows in our church came from closed churches in Detroit. I knew that Father Paul said Mass every Sunday afternoon at Detroit churches. I also was aware of the parish’s strong support for organizations serving the poor the like St. Vincent de Paul.
Several years ago I was struggling while trying to make a decision to accept or turn down an early retirement offer from Ford. One Sunday morning I attended Mass and we sang the hymn “What so ever you for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” The hymn touched my heart. I decided to accept the retirement offer. With encouragement from Father Paul I have worked for the past 14 years at two homeless shelters in Detroit and in two Detroit Catholic high schools.
It’s time for me to serve my fellow parishioners on the Parish Council at Our Mother of Perpetual Help.