Parish Center: 101 Oakcrest Manor Drive NE
Leesburg, VA 20176             T: 703-777-1317

Parish Council


The mission of the Parish Council of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church is to aid the pastor through prudent advice and knowledge in the fostering of our Catholic liturgy and worship, the development of stewardship, and the education of our parish family for the glory of God and the fulfillment of the mission of Jesus and His Church. The Parish Council is a board of parish members appointed by the pastor to serve in a consultative capacity.

Letter to the Parish

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parish council members

Mary Davis: The current Chair of the Parish Council and a member of the Building Committee, Mary has been a member of St. John’s since 1993. She and her husband, Harry, have two children, Emily and Patrick. Mary also serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and enjoys bringing Jesus to our brothers and sisters in assisted living. Mary is also a member of Mothers in Faith. Before her ministry work, Mary was in financial operations management for 18 years.

Mariano Buitrago: Mariano and his wife, Maria Amanda, were born and raised in Nicaragua, relocated to the United States in 1999, and have been members of St. John since they moved to Leesburg in 2005. They have two adult daughters and a nine-year-old son. Mariano has over 20 years of experience in technology and risk management, holds a communications engineering degree and an MBA, and currently works as a senior business continuity manager for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In addition to his work with the Parish Council, Mariano has been a supporter of the St. John Hispanic community, serving as Lector, and developing the new Spanish website for the parish. He and his wife also serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

Dan Fagerli: Dan is a native of Northern Virginia, having grown up in parishes in McLean, St. John the Beloved, and Vienna, St. Marks. Dan, his wife Amy, and their two sons have been members of St. John’s since 2005, at which time they relocated to Leesburg from Sterling. While in Sterling, they were members of Christ the Redeemer and later Our Lady of Hope. An alumnus of James Madison University, Dan holds an MBA from George Mason University and a Master in Taxation from Georgetown University. Dan is currently employed with a CPA firm in Leesburg where he specializes in business and personal taxation. In his spare time he enjoys fly fishing, particularly in western Virginia’s many trout streams.

Joe Fullerk:Joe and his wife Kathy have been parishioners at St. John’s since 2003. They have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. Joe attended Catholic schools for 16 years. Joe retired from the Department of Navy after 40 years as a mathematician, research analyst and program manager. Joe has been very active in community youth sports, coaching of over 60 boy’s/girl’s soccer, basketball and baseball teams. As a volunteer at St. John’s, he assists Kathy, the Giving Tree Ministry Coordinator, in delivering donations to Catholic Charities, Loudoun Hunger Relief, and other charitable organizations. Joe serves as the St. John’s Outreach Coordintor. .

Carol Hertz: Carol has been a member of St John’s since 1981 and remembers when we all fit in the Little Church on Sundays. Her husband was baptized and confirmed here, and they have five children born between 1981 and 1993. Carol was the preschool director for 16 years (1984-2000) and taught middle school Religious Education for 12 years. Currently she teaches the R.C.I.T. class and for the past four years she has moderated the adult scripture study. She also coordinates welcome calls to new parishioners. In 2008, Carol completed a Masters in Theology from the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College.

Charlie Rash: Charlie has been a member of the parish since 2005 when he and his wife, Barbara, moved to Leesburg. They both have served as Extraordinary Ministers (St. Louis parish) and supported the Rooted in Faith – Forward in Hope campaign for the diocese. Charlie is a third degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He retired from the Army after 26 years of service and currently works in Ashburn supporting the US government.

Kate Trask: A member of the parish since 1969, Kate grew up with St. John's as a central part of her family's life, and that continues now in her adulthood. She married her husband, Tom, in the Little Church in 1994. They live in Leesburg, a block from the parish, and enjoy hearing the bells of the new church. Kate serves as an Extraordinary Minister and has participated in the Stewardship Committee, most recently in organizing Sign-up Sunday events.

Ken Tschida: Ken, and his wife Sue, and family moved to Leesburg in 1979. Ken and Sue have 3 children, Jacquelyn, Kenneth Jr., and Katherine, and one grandchild, Christian. He has been the contact for the Altar Server Ministry since 1990. After 37 years with Xerox Corp., he retired in 2009, and served as Capital Campaign Manager and member of the Building Committee. In January of 2010, he accepted a position as Development Director for St. John’s and is a Third Degree Knight of Columbus and Usher.

Nancy Dowgiello:

Jim Wynn: A member of St John’s since 1994, Jim has lived in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He married Kristine in 1970 and their son James is a practicing attorney in Washington, DC. His son, daughter-in-law and two grand children live in Alexandria. Jim retired from Lockheed Martin in 1997. A long-time usher, Jim also served as a member of the Core committee. He currently serves on the Building Committee and Parish Council.

Parish Council Basis, Purpose, and Operating Principles

Enshrined in Canon 228 of the Code of Canon Law is the right and duty of laypersons to advise and assist the pastor. It states that laypersons who excel in knowledge, prudence, and uprightness may assist the pastor as advisors to include the formation of councils. Additionally, "there comes from Vatican Council II the theological basis for the layman's right and duty actively to participate with pastors in the threefold mission of Jesus and His church: to proclaim God's word to others, to sanctify others by His gifts of sacrament and sacrifice, and to lead others actively to His promise of eternal life." (From A Pastoral Letter on Consultation in the Parish by the late Bishop John R. Keating.)

The Parish Council's purpose is best described in the late Bishop John R. Keating's Pastoral Letter. He states "the role of the pastoral council is to help the pastor identify pastoral needs in the parish help him plan pastoral programs and improve pastoral services, evaluate the effectiveness of existing programs and services with a view to their improvement or, at times, their substitution or termination." It is the goal of the Parish Council to provide prudent advice to the pastor on existing matters and projects and aid in the establishment of visionary objectives.

What the Parish Council is not:

  • It is not an elected body.

  • It is not a legislative, decision-making, or voting body.

  • It is not a finance council.

  • It is not a grievance board, nor the primary method for the pastor to take a pulse of parish opinion.

  • It is not an administrative body.

Operating principles:

  1. Appointment of members. Members are selected and appointed by the pastor from a broad section of parish life.

  2. Meeting dates. Meetings are held bi-monthly, September through May, or as needed.

  3. Procedural practices are kept simple. As the structure of the board is advisory, there is no need for strict regulations. The pastor freely sets his criteria for selection of appointments. A chairperson facilitates the meeting and a scribe takes minutes.

  4. The scope and agenda are limited. The council's objective is to provide sound, informed advice on parish matters. It therefore places emphasis on quality and not quantity.

  5. The agenda is selected by the pastor. Council members are free to add to the agenda. However, the pastor in his leadership role selects topics and projects to be addressed.

  6. The pastor and parochial vicars are not members of the council. This is typical of the structure in any ecclesial advisory body. For example, the Holy Father is not a member of the College of Cardinals.

  7. Listening outweighs speaking. Both the pastor and the pastoral council members are committed to the principle that the ability to listen is far more valuable for the good of the parish. The ability to "feel with the Church" (sentire cum ecclesia) is far more productive to good pastoral activity than the ability to promote one's own logical reasoning.

  8. If there is no pastor, there is no council. If for any reason the parish no longer has its pastor, the pastoral council will cease all activity until the new pastor reconvenes the council.

  9. Communication. A summary of minutes will be available to all parishioners. It is the intent of the pastor and the council to provide information as to the content and substance of issues discussed.




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