May 15, 2009

Seeking the Face of the Lord

Pursuing our vision for the future of the local Church

Last week, I wrote about our need to carry Christ’s mission into the future. This week, I iam providing a sketch of the priorities which will guide our mission of evangelization for the next five years.

The priorities are extracted from our most recent strategic plan, which was developed in consultation with many folks in various venues around the archdiocese. Implementation of the following priorities sets our vision and agenda.

The first priority is to emphasize the evangelization and the multicultural dimension of our mission in all archdiocesan secretariats and agencies, that is to say, in every aspect of carrying on our shared mission.

We are a community of many ethnic origins with enriching cultural backgrounds.

Evangelization, proclamation of the Gospel of Christ, is everything we do as Church, beginning with evangelizing ourselves.

Secondly, every group and venue of consultation for developing our strategic plan placed vocational recruitment as their first specific priority.

We need to mainstream the priority in our catechetical programs, and we must continue to feature religious vocations in our youth ministry program.

A new emphasis will be given pride of place in our now developing young adult ministry and campus ministry programs. This has heretofore been an area that had not seen a great deal of development. During Lent, we featured a day of vocational discernment of the priesthood. Eleven young adults signed up.

The FOCUS campus mission program is an effective nationwide lay movement on college and university campuses, and has a proven record of eliciting priesthood and consecrated religious vocations. We are launching a special campus ministry initiative and the FOCUS program on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus beginning in late summer.

Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary is doing well in a short time. We will have a full house in the fall. We already face the need to do some renovating to provide more housing. The college seminary has been effective in reviving a culture of vocation, priestly vocation in particular, at the high school level.

During last Advent, we sponsored a priesthood reflection day for seniors and juniors. Twenty-three young men attended. It is clear that we need to craft a development and fundraising program for Bishop Bruté Seminary.

The response to our Called by Name program in our parishes has been gratifying. More than 400 names of young women and young men were submitted. We are featuring several dinners for nominees around the archdiocese.

Thirdly, like evangelization, our Mission of Charity is virtually everything we do. Three major agenda will preoccupy our attention.

I suggest that our education and catechetical mission in center city Indianapolis and elsewhere is a significant means of “preventative care,” that is, a way to break the cycle of poverty. In order to accomplish this goal, we need to secure our mission in the Mother Theodore Catholic Academy Schools.

From an “immediate care” perspective, we need to secure the stability of our new and expanded Holy Family Shelter now under construction.

Also from an “immediate care” perspective, we will feature our Spreading Hope in Neighborhoods Everywhere (SHINE) project. This is a special initiative promoted by Catholic Charities to be launched this fall.

A fourth area of priorities has to do with Mission Advancement. Needless to say, if we are to carry on our mission of evangelization and ministry of charity, we need a support structure to generate the resources we need to do so.

The conclusion of two major capital and endowment campaigns gives us the opportunity to restructure our central Stewardship and Development secretariat. We are at a new juncture, and how to proceed is under study.

Our mission advancement effort includes the renewal of our Annual Appeal, which supports our shared ministries. The goal in this regard is to further encourage stewardship as a way of life. We also want to craft a significant planned giving initiative in cooperation with our parishes.

Around 14,000 volunteers helped us in our recent successful Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future campaign. We want to enhance opportunities for our volunteers to continue offering valuable time and talent to our mission.

Not surprisingly, a fifth priority is to Pursue New Funding Resources. Our archdiocese makes a significant contribution as good citizens within our boundaries. We want to renew and expand our relationships in the corporate and professional community. This involves identifying community leaders to help us.

We are aware of the growing funding needs of our parishes everywhere, especially those supporting Catholic schools.

Finally, we want to provide for the needs of our retired priests. The Retirement Fund needs to be increased.

Like our founders, Mother Theodore Guérin and the Servant of God Bishop Simon Bruté, we place our confidence in Divine Providence, and we will pursue our vision for the future of our local Church.

We can do it. †

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