USCCB News Release
October 30, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bishops to Vote on USCCB Priority Initiatives Through 2011
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops will vote on goals and objectives for the work of their five task forces on the priority initiatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops through 2011. The vote will take place during their Nov. 10-13 annual fall assembly in Baltimore.
The initiatives and the chair of each task force are:
Faith Formation and Sacramental Practice, Bishop Peter Sartain of Joliet, Illinois.
Strengthening Marriage, Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles.
Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansa City, Missouri.
Cultural Diversity in the Church, Bishop Ricardo Ramírez of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Promotion of Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life, Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile, Alabama.
Goals and initiatives to be voted on include the following:
GOAL 1—CULTURAL DIVERSITY
To increase the Catholic community's understanding and acceptance of cultural diversity in the Church.
Identify processes and resources for the evangelization of cultures including the prevailing U.S. culture.
Provide guidance that will help Church organizations to consistently include cultural diversity when developing policies and social and pastoral responses.
GOAL 2—CULTURAL DIVERSITY
To include diverse cultures in the life and leadership of dioceses, parishes and other Catholic organizations in the United States.
Invite all cultures in the Catholic community to collaborate in addressing issues and developing initiatives that affect the whole Church, including people with special pastoral needs (e.g. language, migrant workers, military.)
Identify best practices and develop models for pastoring multicultural parishes especially those with a growing Hispanic population.
Promote formation opportunities for parish, diocesan, and national pastoral leaders (both ordained and lay) and staff to gain knowledge and skills in multicultural ministry.
Strengthen the continuing formation of priests, religious and seminarians coming from other countries.
GOAL 3—STRENGTHENING MARRIAGE
To inspire, challenge and help Catholic couples to witness to the meaning and value of marriage as a human institution and a Christian sacrament
Increase understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage through age-appropriate education and catechesis
Develop and promote parish-based programs and activities that help couples from different cultures to deal with challenges through the marriage life cycle
Develop and promote resources and training that will motivate priests, deacons, and laity to achieve excellence in marriage ministry
GOAL 4—STRENGTHENING MARRIAGE
To work for laws and public policies that protect, promote, and strengthen marriage
Develop and publicize positive and inspiring messages about marriage based on key aspects of Church teaching
Support and advocate for legislation and public policies that promote and protect marriage
Influence public policy and opinion about marriage in collaboration with other Conference entities, other churches and religious groups, and national organizations
GOAL 5—FAITH FORMATION AND SACRAMENTAL PRACTICE.
To invite all Catholics to a relationship with Jesus in a context of living faith, especially at the parish level, by catechetical and educational formation on the nature of Catholic identity and an appreciation of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. This effort takes place within an awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity in the identity and practice of the Catholic faith in the United States.
Identify best practices for parish-level programs of outreach to inactive Catholics, with attentiveness to outreach to immigrant and culturally distinct Catholic communities.
Explain the nature and purpose of the New Evangelization by developing a single resource for parish use based on the teaching of Evangelii Nuntiandi, Redemptoris Missio, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Ecclesia in America, Novo Millennio Ineunte, the National Directory for Catechesis, Go and Make Disciples, and CELAM's (Episcopal Conference of Latin America) Concluding Document of Aparecida.
Relate the New Evangelization to strategic moments of sacramental life, particularly through outreach to parents and children at times of sacramental preparation and to couples preparing for marriage.
Relate the New Evangelization to other strategic moments of parish life by identifying, integrating, and encouraging outreach at the time of funerals, through the renewal of parish devotional life, and through parochial presence in hospital ministry and other parish apostolates. Emphasize and explain particular cultural elements of popular piety, devotions, and family customs (such as quinceañeras) transmitted through the variety of immigrant and culturally distinct catholic communities as crucial means of transmitting the faith.
Encourage and facilitate a doctrinally sound adult faith formation initiative that includes an awareness of the importance of cultural diversity in the transmission of the faith, founded upon the principles in Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us and based upon systematic catechesis reflecting the National Directory for Catechesis and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.
Develop improved Spanish translations of catechetical resources, such as the Spanish translation of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, to include elements of cultural heritage. Identify and evaluate catechetical materials in other languages.
Identify best practices in development of catechesis for high-school-age youth and for young adults.
Improve preaching and homiletics by developing for priests and deacons a homiletic resource that combines the use of the Lectionary, the Liturgy, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with awareness of the social teaching of the Church.
Develop criteria for the identification of suitable catechists and teachers, and develop resources for their formation.
Integrate awareness in catechetical outreach of the importance of passing on the faith through Catholic cultural identity, with particular awareness of the challenges faced by third and fourth generations of immigrant and culturally distinct Catholic communities.
GOAL 6—FAITH FORMATION AND SACRAMENTAL PRACTICE
To facilitate the prospective introduction, reception, and implementation of the new translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to the Church in the United States.
Develop remote and immediate comprehensive catechetical and formational resources for the facilitation of parish-level reception of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, by priests, deacons, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, liturgists, and musicians, including at least three areas of focus: historical context, pedagogical development, and consideration of special pastoral circumstances. Support and encourage the use of materials such as those developed by the Leeds Group and FDLC.
GOAL 7—LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
In a compelling and effective way, to re-establish the cultural compass of the United States to affirm the objective, transcendent truth of the intrinsic value of human life and the dignity of the human person from the inception of life to natural death.
To provide a compelling and common theological, philosophical, and ethical framework for teaching and defending the life and dignity of every person, developing materials that are appropriate for various audiences and ages.
To use the principle of the life and dignity of the human person as the underlying framework for the work of all of the task force's core committees, tying together the Conference's ongoing policy efforts on issues of life, justice, and peace.
To research the assumptions and cultural challenges that work against our understanding and acceptance of the intrinsic value and dignity of human life in order to develop communication strategies, prayer resources, and other strategies that will be effective in changing the culture and affirming this central truth.
GOAL 8—PROMOTION OF VOCATIONS TO PRIESTHOOD & CONSECRATED LIFE
To help individuals hear and respond to a call by God to the priesthood or consecrated life.
Promote active discipleship of young men and women in parishes and communities so they may more readily hear and respond to the vocation to which the Lord is calling them.
Develop opportunities for young people to experience the rich Catholic tradition of prayer, spirituality, and discernment through education and catechesis.
GOAL 9—PROMOTION OF VOCATIONS TO PRIESTHOOD & CONSECRATED LIFE
To educate all of the faithful on the importance of encouraging others to consider a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.
Create and foster an atmosphere of communal responsibility in which the clergy, religious, and laity personally encourage and invite men and women to discern a call to the consecrated life - and men to discern a call to the priesthood.