'We Are Determined To Share Our Faith'
Do you know where the headline above comes from?
Someone on Facebook did, 15 minutes after I posted a “Pop Quiz” to The Message fan page.
“We are determined to share our faith” is the last line of the Diocese of Evansville’s Mission Statement, developed more than 20 years ago as part of a process that culminated in the fourth Diocesan Synod, which occurred in November 1993.
Fast-forward 2-plus decades. I am honored to serve on a steering committee Bishop Thompson has created to work on the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. We’re not a nuts-and-bolts, detail-oriented group. Our charge is to develop a modern “30,000-foot view” for the plan.
We decided recently to revisit the diocesan Mission Statement as one of our initial steps. We agreed that the Mission Statement should be the lynchpin of any pastoral plan.
Here is ours, as developed in 1993:
The Diocesan Mission Statement
We are Church.
We are alive with the Spirit.
We celebrate the presence of Christ in Word and Sacrament.
We accept the responsibility to live in union with God and one another.
We are determined to share our faith.
It occurs to me every time that I think about our Mission Statement that, to be “right” for us in the diocese and to truly serve as the lynchpin for a pastoral plan, it must be a rock in the same way Jesus called Peter a rock … “and upon this rock I will build My Church.”
After more than two millennia, the Church stands strong and is led by a Holy Father who captivates the world with his fatherly approach to his – and our – Mother Church.
What about our Diocesan Mission Statement? Read it again; and again. Think about it a bit.
For you, does it continue to stand strong after slightly more than two decades?
I’m NOT suggesting it doesn’t. I pose the question to get you – and myself – thinking. I think, for example, about whether that Mission Statement defines a Church across our 12 counties that can be bruised (as Pope Francis suggests) because it is out in the streets and fighting the good fight for the Kingdom of God and the salvation of souls.
Does the statement suggest a Church community with a compassionate, merciful, missionary nature? How does it introduce our diocese to those from outside – not only our geographic area, but also our faith?
You probably know someone who doesn’t get to Mass so often. Do you believe this Mission Statement speaks to them as Catholics? Does it stir anything inside that might make you – or them – drop by church for a Mass, Eucharistic adoration or Confession any time soon?
What about you – who never misses a Sunday? How does the Diocesan Mission Statement speak to you, if at all?
We next gather as a steering committee for the pastoral plan in slightly less than four weeks. I hope you’ll feel free to drop me an email or a written note with your thoughts. What would your Diocesan Mission Statement say if you were charged with writing such a document to truly withstand the test of time?
Send non-electronic responses to me in care of The Message at P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169. You also can email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You – the Catholics across our 12 counties – must take ownership of the Mission Statement for any pastoral plan to gain traction and achieve effective results. And you have to see that Mission Statement regularly, which is why we’ll be running it often in The Message moving forward.