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OUR MISSION CULTURE EXPLAINED

 

“As a Church, we are called to be missionary disciples who know and live the faith and confidently share the Gospel.” [1]

 

The Mission Culture is primarily a process for use in all of our planning and implementation activities, especially in meetings of our foundational ministries, to help us live out missionary discipleship within our parish structures in a meaningful and fruitful way. It is a process which will foster growth (1) in knowledge of our faith, (2) in living our faith on a daily basis, and (3) in our capacity to share the Gospel with others.

Origins of the Mission Culture:

The initial inspiration for the Mission Culture in our parishes came from the original work of the CLI parish team efforts. The elements for the Mission Culture come from inspirations found in the USCCB’s resource Living as Missionary Disciples: A resource for evangelization. In Part II of the document, we found the following “Six Dimensions to Consider During a Pastoral Planning Process” – which we seek to integrate into ministry planning and ministry activities: 

    1. PRAYER: Planning and activities in ministry are permeated with prayer.
    2. FRUITFUL: Planning and activities in ministry are focused on fruitfulness.
    3. LEADERSHIP: Planning and activities in ministry require faith-filled leaders who lead others to Jesus.
    4. CATHOLIC FAITH AS FOUNDATION: Planning and activities are rooted in the teachings of our faith and supported by foundational pastoral practices.
    5. ENGAGES/INSPIRES: Planning and activities in ministry engage and inspire people through a culture of encounter and accompaniment, building strong and trusting relationships.
    6. STEWARDSHIP: Planning and activities in ministry require intentional stewardship.

It is clear in the first part of the document that the resource “is not intended to provide a ready-made program.” We needed to develop our own ways of implementing and activating these principles into a culture for pastoral planning continually renewed by faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

The Parts of Our Mission Culture:

  • Prayer.
  • Formation.
  • Planning.
  • Stewardship.
  • Shepherding.
  • Inspiration.

 

Specifics of Our Mission Culture:

  1. Meetings of foundational ministries, and other meetings as much as possible, are asked to integrate each piece of the Mission Culture: Prayer, Formation, Planning, Stewardship Shepherding and Inspiration.

  2. As to PRAYER:

    1. The purpose of prayer should always be for building up our relationship with Jesus Christ. This should be a practice that can lead all of us to the highest form of prayer, contemplation (See CCC 2709-2719 for a deeper understanding of contemplative prayer). For our part, foundational ministry prayer begins with at least 15 minutes of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament followed by Benediction.
    2. Opening Prayer (before formation begins): The priest, one of the deacons or the chair of the foundation ministry might use the PRAYER FOR OUR MISSION at the start of meetings to strengthen our understanding of the mission. Eventually, each member will be asked to lead the prayer for the foundational ministry. At a later time, other prayers may be introduced that may be appropriate to the particular charism of each ministry.
    3. Ministry members are encouraged to pray the PRAYER FOR OUR MISSION at home. They are also asked to avail themselves of parish programs that are meant as a means of growing in the practice of personal prayer.
    4. Closing prayer is always expected. The Our Father/Hail Mary/Glory Be, all three in combination, can be prayed by all. In time other prayers may be taught and prayed. Requests to pray the St Michael prayer has made it a part of closing prayers. (The original request was for the St Michael prayer to be said at the end of Mass. This was added first for daily Masses and eventually for all weekend Masses - between the blessing and the song of recession. In addition, more frequent praying of the St Michael prayer is encouraged in private devotion.)
  1. FORMATION:

    1. The initial formational material for all foundational ministries will be from “Living as Missionary Disciples”. Father Kent and the PCL, Clare Desrosiers, with the help of the Adult Education & Formation foundational ministry will develop a curriculum from that document that will be used in each ministry. There is a practice already that uses a form of group lectio and the material from “Living as Missionary Disciples”. Later formation material will be developed from within each foundational ministry from the needs assessed by each ministry.
    2. By recommendation of Deacon Albert Burleigh, it was accepted that part of the formation should be implemented in the form of “homework” that foundational ministry members will be asked to study on their own and at their own pace. The purpose of this recommendation is twofold: first, to reduce the amount of time required in meetings for formation (this leaves formation at meetings in the form of reflection rather than "class work"); second, to allow that more formation material be available to the members, for study at their own pace and capacity to appreciate.
  1. PLANNING: This will be the typical business of the foundational ministry as it has been done in the past: Agenda, Minutes, Old Business, New Business, ETC. Included in this planning will be the elements of STEWARDSHIP and SHEPHERDING and INSPIRATION as defined below. We discourage meetings having too much reporting which helps us to follow the recommendations of “Living as Missionary Disciples”.
  1. STEWARDSHIP: This will include financial assessment of, as needed for, budgets and material goods, as well as human resources (volunteer disciples and ministry members, both at the leadership and activities level). This necessarily includes discernment of and enhancement of spiritual gifts and charisms in members and all disciples of the parish. In assessing stewardship, ministry members should ask themselves questions (some are given below but other more relevant question may be used) relating to spiritual and material stewardship:

    1. Spiritual stewardship
      1. What are the spiritual gifts the members?
      2. What kinds of spiritual gifts are in the parish?
      3. Where is there a lack in spiritual gifts, or their application?
    2. Material stewardship
      1. What materials/resources are needed to sustain, enhance or grow spiritual gifts (members and parish)?
    3. Spiritual & Material stewardship
      1. What efforts might best belong in another ministry? 
  1. SHEPHERDING & INSPIRATION: These involve seeking ways of leading people where they and we need to go together. It always includes the developing of new ways of inspiring people to love God and one another. This is the heart of being better at proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.
     
    1. Shepherding is done by:
      1. Growing in our relationship with and love for Jesus.
      2. Understanding the “New Evangelization”, “Living as Missionary Disciples”, Parish Vision, Mission Prayer, etc.
    2.  Assessing:
      1. How are the things we are planning/doing moving people in the parish toward the goal of “6.a.i”?
      2. How are we serving our own families and circle of influence to move in the right direction?
      3. How are we moving ourselves in the right direction (personal spiritual growth)?
    3. Inspiration, in its best form, comes from the Holy Spirit!
      1. We must always call on the help of the Holy Spirit.
      2. We can certainly look to what other parishes and Catholic entities have done that were/are inspirational.
      3. We must discern how we ourselves, in our parish, have or have not been inspirations to others and adapt accordingly.
      4. We must always include the highest of all inspirations that come from Scripture, Catechism, Spiritual readings, etc.

 

 

[1] Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. (2017). Living as missionary disciples: A resource for evangelization. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Washington DC.