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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spreading the Gospel through mission statements

Over the last couple of years, I've become increasingly uneasy with a lot of mission statements that parishes and diocese have adopted. Most of these statements sound good, talking about walking the Gospel walk and talking the social justice talk, but there always seems to be something missing. For a while I couldn't figure out what it was, but I realized this weekend what seemed to be missing: many of these mission statements don't have any sort of evangelization aspect. These statements are often filled with statements like: "We are committed to living the Gospel values", "We will work for justice and peace", and so on. What these statements often don't have is a clear indication of any desire to spread the Gospel: "We commit to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world, both in our words and actions." Here's a rough draft of how I think a truly Catholic mission statement should be written:

As members of the Catholic Church, we believe in all that has been revealed to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, whether through Scripture or Tradition. We are committed to fulfilling Our Lord's commands by spreading the Gospel to the whole world, inviting all peoples to receive Our Lord's gift of salvation, both within the Church and outside of her. We do this by gathering as a community for worship through the Holy Mass and regular devotions, through our commitment to social justice, and by living the Gospel values in our daily lives.

Now, this probably needs a lot of work, but I hope this draft can be a starting point for further discussion on a framework on a truly Catholic mission statement. Then again, maybe we can just use Mark 16:15 as mission statement: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." (RSV:CE)

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