Archbishop Bernard calls for ‘a fresh beginning’

Archbishop Bernard Longley has presented new mission- and vision statements for the Archdiocese. The Mission Statement is, ‘To support and mobilise all in the diocese to become true missionary disciples.’ The accompanying Vision Statement reads, ‘We are called to be a Catholic diocese which is faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ, full of missionary disciples who work together co-responsibly in vibrant communities of faith, joyful in their service of God and neighbour.’

In a pastoral letter on the Birmingham Catholic Diocesan website, Archbishop Bernard writes, ‘We have a mandate given to us by Our Lord to spread the good news and serve and grow the faith for the coming decade and beyond. Pope Francis is encouraging us to do something new to help us achieve this. In Evangelii Gaudium he encourages us, the Christian faithful, “to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation marked by this joy [of the Gospel] while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.” Pope Francis urged the entire Church “to embark on a new chapter of evangelism.” The Church must understand itself as a “community of missionary disciples,” who are “permanently in a state of mission.” He says that “’mere administration’ can no longer be enough.”

Archbishop Bernard continues, ‘I have commissioned a number of groups who are looking at how we work in our parishes and in the Archdiocese to increase the opportunities that enable us to do God’s work and to fulfil the promises of our baptism. I want us to look at how we will individually respond to God’s call to be missionary disciples in the Church and in our local communities, working joyfully together to spread the Word and the work of God. In essence, how will we unfold God’s plan for our diocesan church?

Archbishop Bernard envisages a Catholic diocese which is:
· Faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ
· Full of intentional disciples in vibrant communities of faith, joyful in their service of God and others
· Where many more lay people are engaged in collaborative ministry

To realise this vision, focus will be placed on Evangelisation, Formation, Liturgy and Worship and Social Outreach. Particular attention will be paid to young people and families. ‘The universal call to holiness finds its first expression within families and its first recruits among young people. Catholic education and our diocesan youth services play an important role in serving families and young people. The links between the family, the parish and the school are vital to ensure that the faith is handed on.’

Read the Archbishop’s statement, and access the resources that accompany it, via THIS LINK. Watch a YouTube video about the Archdiocesan vision HERE and a version for Catholic schools HERE.

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