"Vision and Transormation" June 2008 Regional Meetings
The Diocese of Sioux Falls by our 125th Anniversary
A. A people of deep prayer, faith, unity, and love embracing our Catholic identity, roles and responsibilities
As a “priestly people,” we are called to offer our lives in sacrifice for the honor and glory of God and to make the name of Jesus Christ known and loved by all people. We do so empowered by the Holy Spirit in our individual state in life and through apostolic works of charity done under the direction of the Bishop and in communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world united around the Holy Father.
B. A counter-cultural living and witness of our call and identity as Priests, Deacons and Religious of the Catholic Church
Priests, Deacons, and Religious are called to a unique identity and life radically consecrated to Christ in such a way that they become a sign and witness of Christ among us. This unique call is in harmony with the call of the laity, not in competition or contradiction to it. The living out of this call and witness empowers and enlightens all, especially the laity, to live more fully in God’s love revealed in the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.
C. A full, active and conscious participation in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church
As a “priestly people,” we are called to offer our lives as a spiritual sacrifice acceptable to the Father. We do so by interiorly uniting ourselves to Christ’s perfect and living sacrifice which is made present in a sacramental way especially at Holy Mass. By offering an integrated life of faith and good works, we are strengthened by what we receive and are sent forth to give reason for our hope. Our participation is not of just obligation or convenience; rather, it is intentional and thereby unites us more strongly and visibly as the Body of Christ, the Church.
D. A quality, Catholic faith formation for all ages leading to a life animated by the spirit of Jesus Christ
We are called to an on-going life of learning and deepening of faith. By doing so, our lives will be daily more animated by the spirit of Jesus Christ and will become living gospels. Thus, by this on-going formation, we will strengthen our parish communities and invite others to come to know the joy of the encounter with Christ.
E. Works of charity meeting the identified needs in the faith and greater community
We are called to a life of service to others as a continuous and sacrificial act of witness and lived faith. As committed, confirmed Catholics, we are called to constant ministry of service in our parishes as well as our local and wider communities.
F. Unity within individual parishes and with the diocese and with Universal Church ; living beyond my parish
As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to live in communion with one another. We do so within the context of our local parish by working for its health and vitality and in relation to the other parishes within the Diocese and in communion with the Church throughout the world. We are called to lessen our competitive and parochial views for resources and to see our worlds and possibilities with the eyes and heart of the whole Church.
G. A proactive missionary Church including evangelization
We are called to give witness to our love for Christ and His Church. In this way, by what we say and do, we evangelize others and bring them to Christ and His Church. We are called to be Catholics who are confident and grounded in our faith, so that we can speak with conviction, pride, and joy to our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our commitment to our faith community, and our communion with the Catholic Church.
Four Areas of Transformation
1. To move towards a clear, consistent Catholic Faith formation across all ages, identities, and roles
We will allocate our resources and time to focus on the improved Catholic Faith formation of all Catholics in the Diocese so that they develop a greater awareness of their identity, roles, and responsibilities. We will seek to deepen our faith and lived experience of Catholic life with increased satisfaction, joy, and commitment. Parents and adults will need to more actively fulfill their primary role as educators and models of faith for their children by a deeper conversion and commitment to learning their faith and by participating in the religious education programs offered by their parish or in their Catholic School .
2. Focus on fostering Vocations and sustainability in our personnel resources
We will allocate our resources and time to fostering vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We will move away from the position of apologizing for or avoidance of the ministerial priesthood for our children in our faith communities and will seek to instill in them an interest and desire to explore the unique call and rewards of priesthood and religious life.
3. To move towards healthy Catholic relationships, i.e. addressing the tendency toward “We/They”, self interest, and self preservation
We will allocate our resources and time to engage in deeper and substantive dialogue regarding the joys, tensions, and conflicts within our parishes and Diocese and within the Universal Catholic Church. In time of transition and change, our unconscious response can be to protect our self-interest and preservation, even if such acts weaken the Diocese and, unintentionally, our parishes. We will choose to be intentional about living in communion with one another as the only response that includes the interests of self and of the greater Church.
4. To move towards an accountability of our effectiveness as the Catholic Church in Eastern South Dakota
We will allocate our resources and time to continuous improvement and pursuit of quality in all ministries, especially in the areas of Sacred Liturgy and Catholic Faith Formation. Across our Diocese, our priests are stretched too thin in providing too many liturgies in too many churches which are too sparsely attended. We will use data and analysis to best utilize our limited financial, physical, and human resources in an efficient and effective manner while committing to a pursuit of excellence in all we do and assurance of the Sacraments, faith formation and vital parishes.
How We Will Measure the Progress of Our Journey
A. Clarity, Acceptance and Implementation of the Pastoral Plan
B. Relationships in Partnership and Communion with Bishop and Reduced We/They-based Conflicts
C. Means and Content of Communication is Informing, Used and Effective
D. Ministries of the Bishop Funding Needs are Met
E. Relationships between Diocesan Offices and Priests and Parish Staff
Priests and Deacons
A. Understanding, Acceptance and Living Out Of Identity, Life and Ministry
B. Competency, Development and Engagement in Pastoral Ministry
C. Manageable Work / Ministry Load
D. Operating with a Healthy Balance of Authority and Partnership and Effective Delegation of Parish Administration to Laity
E. Vocations to Priesthood
A. Quality of and Participation in Liturgy and the Sacraments
B. Stewardship of Time, Talent and Treasure
C. Quality of and Participation in Pastoral Ministry of the parish
D. Quality of and Participation in the Social Justice Ministry of the parish
E. Quality of and Participation in Consultative Leadership of the parish
Education and Formation
A. Quality of and Participation in Lifelong Formation for All Parishioners
B. Parental Knowledge, Acceptance and Engagement as the Primary Catechesis Provider to Their Children
C. Religious Education and Sacramental Preparation of Youth
D. Quality of and Participation in Catholic Education
E. Accessibility to Catholic School and Faith Formation; Financially and Physically