Priority Plan: Our efforts to build God’s kingdom

In last month’s West River Catholic I shared with you the vision statement that is very integral to the Pastoral Priority Plan as well has the three Pastoral Priorities. As you recall, the mission of the Diocese of Rapid City is aligned with the mission of the Roman Catholic Church extending from the mission of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Our sacred mission statement provides the framework and focus for every ministry of the diocese.

Our Priority Plan defines the efforts of the diocese for the next three to five years. Core values identified and illustrated in the Priority Plan are meant to guide the actions of every person, family, ministry and organization all across the diocese.

The vision statement: Reconcile – Make Disciples – Live the Mission helps to provide the focus for the pastoral plan thereby making it more present the kingdom of God, in the diocese of Rapid City, for the next five years.

The three Pastoral Priorities and the goals for each of them will become our focus for ministry over the next 18-24 months, guiding our efforts to build God’s kingdom through the year 2018. These priorities will inform the focus, clarity and direction of our ministry in support of the mission of the diocese.

As you recall, the three Diocesan Pastoral Priorities include: Reconciliation, Forming Disciples, Funding the Mission.

Reconciliation — As God has reconciled us through Jesus Christ, so we will promote forgiveness and healing within families; within and between communities; among racial groups; within the church. We will invite others to experience the good news of God’s love through an encounter with Jesus Christ.

The goals for this priority include identifying areas where reconciliation and unity are strong and areas where reconciliation is needed and submitting to the bishop a plan which engages and promotes reconciliation and includes an implementation process.

Forming Disciples — We are called to a deep union with Christ — a relationship of love. We will work together for formation in the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral areas. This formation will empower us to grow as faithful stewards of God’s gifts, living a Catholic way of life through hospitality, faith and discipleship.

The goals for this priority include increasing the number of parishes which meet the criteria to be recognized as stewardship parishes and increasing the participation rate in formation events by at least twenty-five percent of the average number of parishioners currently attending Mass.

Funding the Mission — Our Pastoral Plan lays out the vision and priorities for the Diocese of Rapid City. Our plan will be successful because disciples of Jesus Christ accept their call to joyfully and generously share their gifts so that the Gospel can be proclaimed and lived in western South Dakota.

The goals for this priority include developing a Diocesan Facility Master Plan to include plans for a new chancery building and plans for the Terra Sancta campus, as well as implementing a financial plan to fund diocesan offices, ministries and facilities.

The Priority Plan will also impact the foundational ministries of the diocese, those ministries which are part of the ongoing work of the local church. These foundational ministries and goals are as follows.

In the area of Sacraments and Worship, the main goals include chartering a liturgy commission under the direction of the Office of Worship to renew the liturgical life of the Diocese of Rapid City and to implement an evaluation process to measure each parishioner’s personal experience of the Mass in their parish.

In the area of Education and Formation, the primary goals include providing three to five ongoing opportunities for formation for catechists and parishioners in a distance learning format and for directors of religious education to complete a certification program at the parish’s expense either through the VSI program or an approved equivalent.

In the area of Governance and Finance, the primary goals are to provide at least two Parish Leadership education sessions in each deanery to assist parishes in operating within the diocesan and parish financial guidelines. A second goal is to implement a communication strategy that will support and enhance our foundational ministries.

In the area of Social Services and Outreach, the major goals are to establish a diocesan office dedicated to the work of social justice and to establish a task force to assess the needs of the Hispanic community and make recommendations to the bishop

Finally, the goals in the area of Vocations and Evangelization include forming vocation committees in each parish to encourage and promote a culture of vocations, and forming 10-15 people from each parish in relational ministry and sharing the joy of the Gospel of Christ through witness and testimony.

The complete Priority Plan of the Diocese of Rapid City can be found in the center section of this issue of the West River Catholic.

Over the course of the next few months, this plan will be communicated in detail in various ways. Besides the copy in the West River Catholic, it will be made available to everyone in the diocese with the great hopes that all embrace the vision – Reconcile – Make Disciples – Live the Mission. In doing so, I believe that the Lord will transform us as disciples, our families, our faith communities and our diocese.

Please take the time to study, reflect upon and pray with this Priority Plan and begin to ask the Holy Spirit how you might be called to engage this vision in a personal way and as part of your parish community. Our plan will be successful because disciples of Jesus Christ accept their call to joyfully and generously share their gifts so that the Gospel can be proclaimed and lived in western South Dakota.

May God continue to abundantly bless you, your family and the Diocese of Rapid City.