Zestfully living the Gospel mission

Engaging your faith in an intentional way (more than merely going to Mass once a week) will bear fruit in your life and the life of your family far beyond what you can image. You will be amazed what God will do for you, with you and through you. When we give the Lord control of our lives in every area, transformation takes place. When we seek to engage a life of faith daily, through prayer, study and formation, we become more intentional disciples who live the mission given to each of us in baptism and strengthened again in confirmation. In the process, the Holy Spirit comes alive in us and our hearts are awakened like we have never experienced before. It is then we become more clearly our true selves as God created us to be.

Intentional disciples, united as the body of Christ, live the mission of the Gospel entrusted to us, thereby building the Kingdom of God. Our lives, our families, our faith communities, our local church become focused on a mission that ultimately leads us to heaven.

The Envisioning process has led the Diocese to a clear pathway into the future as outlined in the Diocesan Priority Plan. I have been writing about this plan in the West River Catholic almost monthly since January. The completed plan was published in the West River Catholic in April and May. This Priority Plan will lead us into the future with the hopes of creating many new intentional disciples and stronger families as they become engaged more deeply in a life of faith.

If I gave you a quiz on the Diocesan Priority Plan, would you be able to pass it? First question: What is the Mission Statement? Second question: What are the six Core Values? Third question: What is the Vision Statement? Fourth question: What are the three Diocesan Priorities? Fifth question: What are the five Foundational Ministries?

It will be very difficult to implement the Priority Plan if Catholic families across the whole diocese are not engaged in the process. We cannot do it without each and every one of you. The results will be diminished if we are not all engaged, individually, as families, as faith communities and as a diocese. We can do this together united as the Body of Christ.

I have created a resource to assist us. Part of the implementation process was for me to write a pastoral letter to help set us on our way. The pastoral letter ended up being something much larger. I have written a book of sorts entitled, “Through Him, With Him, and in Him, A Spiritual Guide to the Diocesan Priority Plan.”

Be on the lookout for a copy coming your way! A copy of this book is being sent to each of your homes. Consider it a gift from me and the Diocese of Rapid City. More copies will be made available. It is my expectation that you will receive your copy by the end of June. It is my hope and prayer that everyone will take the time to prayerfully read and reflect upon this resource as a way to engage your faith life. Discuss it with your families and in your faith communities. Ask the Holy Spirit to let it form your hearts anew, leading you deeper into your personal call to discipleship.

In the spiritual guide, I have tried not only to share the Diocesan Priority Plan in more detail, but to enflesh it with a spiritual dimension that seeks to offer each of us some encouragement as we answer our own call to be intentional disciples for Jesus. This plan is meant to bring into clearer focus the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Rapid City as a whole.

Now, back to the quiz. I will even give you the answers! First question: The Mission of the Diocese is: We, the Diocese of Rapid City, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are called to attract and form intentional disciples who joyfully, boldly and lovingly proclaim and live the mission of Jesus Christ, leading to eternal life.

Second question: The six Core Values are Prayer, Stewardship, Solidarity, Mercy, Charity and Family.

Third question: The Vision Statement is: RECONCILE — MAKE DISCIPLES — LIVE THE MISSION.

Fourth question: The three Diocesan Priorities are: Reconciliation, Forming Disciples and Funding the Mission.

Fifth question: The five Foundational Ministries are: Sacraments and Worship, Education and Formation, Governance and Finance, Social Services and Outreach, and Vocations and Evangelization.

Finally, we must always remember that each of us has our own particular spiritual gifts to share in carrying out this mission, this priority plan. St. Paul reminds us: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (1 Cor 12:4-7). We know that if we rely on and trust in the Holy Spirit to guide our efforts we can be assured of the fruitfulness of our endeavors. May God bless you all.